Climate Change and Military Spending
Links between environmental issues and militarism and security are often hidden. This is however a surprising omission, given how much power the military has and the way it has increased its power dramatically over the last decades. When we consider that climate change will dramatically increase instability and insecurity, examining the role of the military in a climate-changed world becomes ever more critical.
In fact, the research group Oil Change International calculates that up to half of all interstate wars since 1973 have been about oil. Violence against populations is also often concerned with protecting fossil fuel projects. And, as climate change impacts hit home ever harder, this tendency towards a militarized response is likely to grow.
We should be strongly worried about climate change and anthropogenic planet warming. We must bring environmentally damaging activities under control, we must manage resources crucial to human welfare more effectively, we must stabilize population, and we must have a new ethic and a new attitude toward discharging our responsibility for caring for ourselves and for the earth, as a group of 1,575 of the world’s most prominent scientists already declared 25 years ago. Recently, a second strong group of 15,372 scientists has again stated that that time is running out: soon, it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory. Present evidences show that we are destroying the lives of our future generations.
Anyway, strategies seeking benefits for a very few, strategies which are also spoiling the planet, can only be supported by violence, and violence is usually conducted through armies and enhanced by militarism and military spending. War business, powered by the Military-Industrial Complex, is based on arms trade and on power structures that produce civilian deaths, also degrading conflicts, preying on the planet and actively contributing to climate change. Actions to reduce climate change effects therefore require a reduction on military spending and renovated efforts to use negotiation to solve conflicts.
While politicians have proved unable to make the decisions necessary to stop worsening climate change, they have not found it difficult to find funding for ‘security’ needs.
“Business as usual” is not the solution. The statement that market is always right and that its regulation is a mistake, has been proved to be false in a situation of limited resources that is invisible to these markets and that can have very long-term consequences. Economic and political powers have ended up being closely associated, national states having favoured a small group of influential businessmen who have earned strong economic benefits, and corporations having in many ways captured states. We therefore declare that focus must be urgently moved from private interests to human needs. Climate change can only be addressed from a global regulatory perspective with ethical, human-centered objectives. UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be reached if we do not globally address the fundamental technology injustices that leave people behind.
Climate change is the unavoidable output of the undemocratic triangle that is now driving the world, formed by transnational extractive corporations, country-based military-industrial complexes and financial organizations. To stop climate change and global warming, the only solution is to decrease the volume and power of this triangle as much as possible. This is the reason why GCOMS claims, as a first step, for a 10% reduction of military spending in all countries and alliances, including NATO, and for a redirection of these funds to human needs and sustainable goals.