The publication of the latest volume from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – which focuses on reducing carbon emissions – has coincidentally come as the annual figures on global military spending are released. Comparing these sources provides a revealing insight into the priorities of our political masters – and how they misuse science and technology.
Global military spending in 2013 stood at a whopping $1.75 trillion, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This is a small decrease in real terms from the post-Cold War peak in 2011. The USA continued to dominate, spending nearly 37% of the total – though its spending is finally falling following the huge rises during the ‘War on Terror’. Nevertheless it still spends as much as the next eight countries put together. Chinese and Russian spending continued to grow rapidly – driven by various territorial disputes, economic growth, and a desire to close some of the spending gap with the US. Spending in Western Europe was down, but the region still spent an enormous $312 billion – more than China and Russia combined – with France, the UK and Germany being responsible for the majority of this. Numerous other regions and countries saw increases due to local arms races or war, but less obvious drivers were high levels of oil and gas extraction or just economic growth.
Read here the complete blog entry by Dr Stuart Parkinson posted on global day of action on military spending, GDAMS 2014.