[pjw] INFO: No Warming, No War - Institute for Policy Studies 4/22
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Mon May 25 18:15:22 EDT 2020
Hello PJW supporters
We got a link to this report from the National Priorities
Project/Institute for Policy Stuties back on Earth Day (April 22), then
discussed it at the last Iraq Affinity Group meeting (May 11) and I'm just
now getting around to sending it out to you all (May 25). Sorry for the
delay, but please use this information in your organizing to tie together
climate change and peace issues.
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
No Warming, No War:
How Militarism Fuels the Climate Crisis -- and Vice Versa
Lorah Steichen | Lindsay Koshgarian
In a strange twist, it has taken a global pandemic to significantly
reduce the world's fossil fuel emissions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has utterly changed life as we know it -- but
it's also laid bare how Washington's militaristic budget priorities
have left the country woefully unprepared for a crisis. With massive
shortages in public health resources and shocks to the broader economy
throwing Americans off their health care, states are left clamoring
for help from the military to cope.
All this could be a preview of shocks to come as our climate crisis
While meaningful climate action has stalled on Capitol Hill and in the
White House, planners at the Pentagon have been quietly preparing a
militarized, "armed lifeboat" response to climate chaos for years.
Unfortunately, the tendency to understand climate change as just
another national security issue has misdirected resources away from
the programs that we need to mitigate and adapt to a warming climate.
In this report, we'll lay out how militarism and the climate crisis
are deeply intertwined and mutually reinforcing. The military itself,
we explain, is a huge polluter -- and is often deployed to sustain the
very extractive industries that destabilize our climate. This climate
chaos, in turn, leads to massive displacement, militarized borders,
and the prospect of further conflict.
True climate solutions, we argue, must have antimilitarism at their
In the face of both COVID-19 and the climate crisis, we urgently need
to shift from a culture of war to a culture of care. Funneling
trillions into the military to wage endless wars and project military
dominance has prevented us from investing in true security and
cooperation. If we don't transform our society and the way we confront
crises, we will face even more unjust and inhumane realities in a
Recognizing that the impacts of climate change will dramatically
increase instability around the globe, this paper examines the role of
militarism in a climate-changed world. As outlined below, climate
change and militarism intersect in a variety of alarming ways:
* The Pentagon is a major polluter. U.S. Militarism degrades the
environment and contributes directly to climate change. The
Pentagon is the world's largest institutional user of petroleum;
just one of the military's jets, the B-52 stratocruiser, consumes
about as much fuel in an hour as the average car driver uses in
seven years. Plans to confront climate change must address
militarization, but "greening the military" misses the point
entirely. Militarism and climate justice are fundamentally at
* The United States has a well-known history of fighting wars for
oil. The fossil fuel industry relies on militarization to uphold
its operations around the globe. Oil is the leading cause of war:
An estimated one-quarter to one-half of all interstate wars since
1973 have been linked to oil. And all over the world, those who
fight to protect their lands from extractive industries are often
met with state and paramilitary violence.
* Climate change and border militarization are inextricably linked.
It is clear that on a warming planet, cross-border migration will
rise. Estimates project that around 200 million people will be
displaced by the middle of century due to climate change. As the
U.S. continues to ramp up border security, so do threats to all
people's freedom to move and stay. Immigrant justice is climate
justice, and challenging militarism is critical to achieving both.
* Over-investment in the military comes at the high cost of
under-investing in other needs, including climate. For decades,
the U.S. has invested in military adventurism and prioritized
military threats above all over threats to human life. Compared to
the $6.4 trillion spent on war in the past two decades, the cost
of shifting the U.S. power grid to 100% renewable is an estimate
$4.5 trillion. The bloated U.S. war economy presents an
opportunity to redirect significant military resources, including
money, infrastructure, and people, toward implementing solutions
to climate change.
* Workers need a way out. The fossil fuel and military sectors
mirror each other in the way that workers frequently end up
funneled into lethal work due to limited options. We need a Just
Transition for workers and communities in both sectors. In order
to rapidly transition to a green economy, we must fund millions of
jobs in the green economy. Funding the green economy instead of a
bloated military budget would be a net job creator; for the same
level of spending, clean energy and infrastructure create over 40%
more jobs and energy efficiency retrofits create nearly twice the
level of job creation.
* Racism and racial oppression form the foundation for both the
extractive fossil fuel economy and the militarized economy.
Neither could exist without the presumption that some human lives
are worth less than others, and racial justice would undermine the
foundations of both.
The Military and Climate Change
The Pentagon is a major polluter.
Funded by an annual budget of more than $700 billion, the United
States has a massive military presence across the globe. With
extensive infrastructure and operations both domestically and abroad,
the largest industrial military in the history of the world is also
among the biggest polluters.
Maintaining an expansive military sprawl requires significant
investment in carbon-intensive infrastructure and gas-guzzling
equipment. Just one of the military's jets, the B-52 Stratocruiser,
consumes about as much fuel in an hour as the average car driver uses
in seven years.
Beyond a significant carbon "boot print," the U.S. military operations
wreaks havoc on the environments it occupies and wages war. Plans to
confront climate change must address militarization. With that said,
"greening the military" or finding ways to wage eco-friendly war miss
the boat. The climate justice movement calls for a restructuring of an
extractive economy that is harming people and ecosystems. Such
aspirations and militarism are fundamentally at odds.
Killing for Oil
The United States has a well-known history of fighting wars for oil.
Beyond accounting for fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse
emissions, the U.S. military's contributions to the climate crisis are
even greater when considering that oil is the leading cause of war. An
estimated one-quarter to one-half of all interstate wars since 1973
have been linked to oil. The U.S. military spends an estimated $81
billion a year to protect the world's oil supplies.
In addition to causing war, the fossil fuel industry also relies on
militarized state violence to uphold its operations around the globe.
Those who fight to protect their lands from extractive industries and
infrastructure are often branded as "eco-terrorists" and met with
state-military or paramilitary violence.
Indigenous peoples are disproportionately subject to this violence.
While Indigenous people make up about 5% of the world's population,
they account for about a quarter of those murdered for defending land
and the environment. In the United States, increasingly militarized
local police departments acquire surplus military equipment from
federal agencies. Particularly in the context where a bloated military
budget leaves climate change mitigation and adaptation severely
underfunded, we face increasingly militarized responses to the climate
Climate Change, Immigration, and Militarization
Climate change and border militarization are inextricably linked.
People around the world are already experiencing the devastating
impacts of climate change. In the coming decades, climate change will
make corners of the globe increasingly uninhabitable. These new
ecological realities will compound existing conflicts, cause more
political instability, and dislocate unprecedented quantities of
people. Commonly cited estimates project that around 200 million
people will be displaced by the middle of the century due to climate
It is clear that on a warming planet, cross-border migration will
rise. But instead of responding with solidarity or compassion and
sharing the resources that could provide safe refuge to those forced
to travel across borders, migrants are met with expanded border
enforcement and repression. Around the globe, governments allocate
more of their budgets to build walls, hire armed guards, and
militarize borders to keep migrants out.
Having played such an outsized role in causing the crisis, the United
States bears a disproportionate share of the responsibility to address
it, including a debt to displaced people around the world. We must
reverse our decades-long trend of border militarization and all
anti-immigrant operations carried out by ICE and CBP and in doing so
uphold all peoples collective freedom to move and stay.
The Federal Budget and Militarized Spending
Over-investment in the military comes at the high cost of
under-investing in other needs, including climate.
Proposals to meaningfully address the climate crisis at the rate and
scale necessary are often characterized as unrealistic pipe dreams.
The same scrutiny is seldom applied to ever-expanding military
The reality is that there's no shortage of funds for a Just Transition
to a green economy. Compared to the $6.4 trillion spent on war in the
past two decades, the cost of shifting the U.S. power grid to 100%
renewable energy over the next ten years is an estimated $4.5
trillion. Instead of funding endless wars, we could have already
transformed our fossil-fueled energy system, with money to spare.
Enormous and unnecessary military expenditures have warped our sense
of what's possible, too often tricking us into believing we can't
afford to improve our lives or keep our planet livable. When we take
back our resources from elites who profit off violent wars, weapons,
and walls we can reinvest trillions of dollars back into our
communities and begin to repair the harm inflicted on people and the
planet by militarization at home and around the world.
Download Full Primer
Green Jobs and a Just Transition for Workers and Communities
Workers need a way out.
In both the fossil fuel and military sectors, workers end up funneled
into lethal work due to limited options. Like the workers in the
fossil fuel industry will need to transition into new jobs, there must
be alternative pathways to good employment for individuals and
communities whose livelihoods are tied to the military.
In order to rapidly transition to a green economy, we must fund
millions of new jobs and convert a major share of the economy from
building weapons of war to building a 100% clean energy economy by
2030. Compared to the same level of military spending, clean energy
and infrastructure create over 40% more jobs and energy efficiency
retrofits creates nearly twice the level of job creation by military
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