CANSEC sponsor Lockheed Martin rejects shareholder proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Published by Brent Patterson on

This Thursday, just weeks before it is at the CANSEC weapons show in Ottawa, Lockheed Martin will be holding its Virtual Annual Meeting.

As You Sow, on behalf of the Remmer Family Foundation, has put forward a resolution on climate change to that annual meeting. That proposal can be found under Proposal 7 (on page 88) of the company’s Proxy Statement & Notice of Annual Meeting.

It states: “Shareholders request the Board issue a report, at a reasonable expense and excluding confidential information, disclosing how the Company intends to reduce its full value chain greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C degree goal requiring Net Zero emissions by 2050.”

The Lockheed Martin Board of Directors rejects this proposal.

It says (on page 89): “The Board of Directors recommends that stockholders vote AGAINST this proposal because we believe that its approach is duplicative, unnecessarily prescriptive, premature and not in the best interest of our Company or our stockholders.”

Lockheed Martin is a major carbon polluter

The weapons that Lockheed Martin produces are major carbon emitters.

CODEPINK has posted: “For every hour of flight, the F-35 burns 1,340 gallons [5,072.452 litres] of fuel, pumping roughly 28,140 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere. This jet is a disaster for the environment.”

The Canadian government intends to purchase 88 F-35s.

How much fuel will just one Canadian F-35 burn? Given each F-35 is supposed to have a service lifetime of 8,000 hours, one could estimate that 8,000 hours x 5,072 litres of fuel an hour amounts to about 40.5 million litres of fuel.

How many barrels is that? Given 1 barrel of oil holds 158.987 litres, one can further estimate an F-35 could burn about 255,000 barrels of jet fuel over its lifespan.

How much carbon will just one F-35 emit? 8,000 hours x 28,140 pounds is pounds tells us about 225 million pounds or about 102,000 metric tonnes.

And 88 F-35s? That would be about 8.98 megatonnes.

The Canadian government has not made public the carbon emissions expected from its purchase.

Transparency is needed on military emissions

Under the Paris Agreement reached at the COP21 climate summit in Paris in 2015, militaries lost their automatic exemption, but were not obligated to cut their emissions and reporting on those emissions was left to the discretion of individual states.

Author Jonathan Cook has also commented: “All too often the figures are disguised – lumped in with emissions from other sectors, such as transport.”

For instance, this article in The Conversation notes: “Canada reports its emissions under multiple IPCC categories, reporting military flights under general transport, and energy for bases under commercial/institutional emissions.”

Fighter jets also exempt from Canada’s greening strategy

In August 2021, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report titled Leading the way? A critical assessment of the federal Greening Government Strategy.

The CCPA report specifies: “The Department of National Defence alone accounted for 59% of federal emissions in 2019–20.”

It then highlights: “The [Department of National Defence is] exempt from key commitments in the Greening Government Strategy [of reducing emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by 2025]. Specifically, while [DND is] beholden to the 2025 target for facilities and administrative fleets, their operational fleets [i.e., the air force] are only subject to the 2050 target [of net zero emissions].”

DND on F-35s and the environment

In January 2023, Global News reported that Jessica Lamirande, a DND spokesperson, says that an assessment has been conducted on the “environmental impact” of F-35 fighter jets that includes the “planned capture of emissions”.

The article notes: “The government says they have conducted an assessment of the jets’ environmental impact, concluding that it would be the same as those of the existing CF-18 aircraft.”

It then quotes Lamirande who says: “The analysis supports the conclusion that replacing the current fighter fleet with the future fighter fleet will not have an adverse impact on the environment.”

Not just about carbon emissions

As CODEPINK national director Danaka Katovich and Peace Action development associate David Gibson comment: “Even if Lockheed Martin were environmentally friendly, it would still be accountable for a variety of offenses, chief among them flooding the world with weapons. That said, committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is necessary as we stare down the barrel of climate disaster. Shareholders breaking with the board and voting yes would be a good start. Given the enormity of the crisis we face, anything less would be criminal.”

For more, please see their article The Board of Lockheed Martin Has Spoken: Climate Change May Proceed (The Jacobin, April 20, 2023).

Climate change and human rights

When she was the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet commented: “Without a healthy planet to live on, there will be no human rights. Let me be very clear: the triple threat of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss constitutes the single greatest challenge to human rights in our era.”

Lockheed Martin appears to have chosen profit over human rights and a sustainable environment.

Lockheed Martin and CANSEC

As noted at the top, Lockheed Martin is a sponsor of the CANSEC weapons show taking place in Ottawa this coming May 31 to June 1.

A popular mobilization is being organized to #ShutDownCANSEC.

As Defence Minister Anita Anand is expected to be a keynote speaker the morning of May 31, this is an opportunity to express concern to her about the F-35’s carbon emissions and the death and destruction caused by warplanes.

For more on the upcoming mobilization against CANSEC, click here.

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