Paying for the Climate Change Pivot – world leaders can’t really fight climate change unless they slash military spending
April 29, 2014 by IPB
We only have a few decades to deal with climate change. If humanity fails to cut back dramatically on carbon emissions by 2050, according to an alarming new UN report, our planet may warm past the point of our ability to fix the problem.
Given global dependence on oil, gas, and coal, weaning every economy from fossil fuels to save Mother Earth won’t come easy or cheap. Fortunately, there’s a big pot of money available to avert a climate catastrophe.
Accessing that money, however, requires cutting back on a different set of pollutants — the huge cache of weapons the world continues to produce.
Europe has trimmed its military spending and the Pentagon budget is leveling off. Yet other regions are burning through more cash to wage or gear up for war than they used to.
Military outlays are rising the most in Africa and the Middle East. And Asia surpassed Europe last year for the first time in terms of overall military spending.
The United States still faces no competition for its distinction as the world’s military spending champion. The Pentagon’s $640 billion tab amounted to more than a third of the $1.75 trillion in global military spending the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute itemized for 2013.
What does worldwide military excess have to do with today’s reliance on fossil fuels? Instead of investing in ways to slow global warming and adapt to a changing climate, too many nations are pouring money into weapons in an ongoing fight over the dwindling resources we haven’t quite used up yet.
There’s still time to pivot in a new direction. One big step governments, industries, and investors must take is to quadruple the money they’re pumping into sustainable alternatives to oil, gas, and coal.
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