[pjw] INFO: Letter to John Kerry on Climate & War

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Wed Apr 21 18:36:43 EDT 2021


Veterans For Peace (national) is planning to do a big public release of 
the below letter for Earth Day, but emailed it to John Kerry (special 
envoy on the environment) in early April. The letter connects the issues 
of militarism and war and urges Kerry to include this connection in his 
efforts. Two VFP members met with Kerry's staff last week. The letter went 
out with 345 signatures on it-- including Peace and Justice Works Iraq 
Affinity Group. We were invited to sign by the local Chapter 72.

The National VFP is circulating an online petition at

You can find a link to the full letter there-- I'm not pasting in all 345 
signatures, but summarize the categores below. Considering how amazing 
this list is, I'm surprised there are only 23 states involved in the 
organizational sign-ons.

Anyway, please share this out and check out the petition if that's 
something you are inclined to sign, or at least to see the summary and the 
link to the official letter.

Happy earth day (tomorrow)

dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group


April 2, 2021

Dear Honorable John Kerry,

On behalf of Veterans For Peace and other peace and climate champions, we 
congratulate you on your appointment as Special Presidential Envoy for 
Climate, thank you for returning us to the Paris Agreement, and join you 
in promoting a transition from fossil fuels to safe, renewable forms of 
energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, and small hydropower.

Let us put militarism at the center of this conversation on climate.

We are pleased that the Biden/Harris Administration has created this 
position, as a reflection of the seriousness of the climate crisis, and we 
are pleased that the person with that position is you. It is approaching 
50 years since you, as an anti-war veteran, delivered to Congress a 
lengthy, articulate and devastating critique of the Viet Nam war. Some of 
us were already anti- war veterans or soldiers, and you spoke truth to 
power for us. You have had many positions of power since that time; in 
your present position, we ask that you summon the courage and clarity 
about war and militarism that you expressed to Congress in April 1971.

You posed the question, "How do we ask a man to be the last man to die for 
a mistake?"

Now the question we pose is, "How do we ask millions of people to die as a 
result of a climate catastrophe fueled by endless war and militarism?"

To thwart climate catastrophe, we present the following requests:

1) Please implement the inclusion of military emissions in all reporting
    and data on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The US shamefully demanded,
    during the negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, that military
    emissions be excluded from countries' total GHGs, and then did not even
    ratify the Protocol.

2) We ask that you use your public platform to consistently point out the
    role that US militarism and the Pentagon play in exacerbating the
    climate crisis, and push to greatly reduce the military's reach around
    the world, to bring our troops home, end drone warfare, close hundreds
    of overseas bases, stop endless wars, reject nuclear modernization and
    defund the Space Force -- to end the squandering of financial, material
    and human resources, and minimize the Pentagon's carbon bootprint.

3) We ask that you promote bilateral accords between the US and Russia and
    the US and China to prohibit financial institutions from funding future
    fossil fuel investments, cease military exercises in the South China
    Sea, keep the Arctic safe from extractive exploration and weapons
    systems, and conduct people-to-people "climate protector" delegations
    to exchange knowledge, build friendships and undertake joint projects
    to promote biodiversity and renewable energy.

4) We ask that you use your public platform to advocate for the US to pay
    its fair share into the Green Climate Fund.

5) We ask that you be a strong advocate for a Just Transition so that both
    workers who have been and will be displaced by the shift from fossil
    fuel production, and working people who have been marginalized, are
    able to fully prosper.

6) We ask you to recognize that along with the efforts of many elected and
    appointed officials including yourself, the efforts of people's
    movements for climate justice are essential in overcoming the power of
    those forces that have led us into our present climate disaster. We
    therefore ask that you work with our groups as allies. We ask these
    sister groups also, as we are asking you, to challenge war and
    militarism that so far has been little addressed in the climate

This is in spite of:

a) The Pentagon being the world's largest institutional user of fossil 
fuels and thus the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses (GHG emissions).

b) The huge additional environmental impacts from manufacturing, shipping 
and using weapons and equipment, and the intense bombing of infrastructure 
and natural environments of other countries.

c) The trillions of dollars of our money that have been spent on endless 
wars, nuclear weapons and some 800 overseas US bases -- none of which 
defend us against climate disruption -- which should be redirected to 
human needs and healing our planet.

d) The deep complicity between the military-industrial complex and the 
fossil fuel corporations. Our military enforces US corporations' plunder 
of the planet to steal resources and the fruits of human labor.

Yet, when we listened to your speech of February 18, on the occasion of 
the welcome return of the US to the Paris Climate Agreement, we noted the 
lack of any reference to the military contribution to the climate crisis.

Similarly, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Report, 
"Solving the Climate Crisis" https://climatecrisis.house.gov/report lays 
out changes needed in many areas. In the section on National Security, 
however, it only includes how climate change will affect the military on 
US bases, but nothing on how the military affects the climate crisis.

We cannot afford to ignore the elephant in the room or remain in denial.

As we witness extreme weather events, from flash floods to wildfires to 
freezing temperatures, we are reminded of the urgency of reducing our 
greenhouse gas emissions. To ensure a carbon-free future in a sustainable 
world, we must redefine global security as climate security and recognize 
that war and war preparations will only make us less secure. Otherwise, we 
face an increasingly militarized and dystopian world, in which 
industrialized countries lock out climate refugees from the Global South, 
and in which indigenous peoples disproportionately suffer as a result of 
our addiction to fossil fuels and militarism.

We recognize that ending this existential threat to our survival requires 
transforming the organizing principle of our society from greed to 
sustainability, equity, community and regeneration. This will require the 
collaboration of many groups: frontline communities, racial and climate 
justice advocates, youth, labor, environmentalists, and religious groups, 
along with the crucial role that you and other concerned officials can 

Working together to end war and militarism must be a central part of this 

We would like to schedule a showing of our slides on "Climate Disruption 
and US Militarism" and plan to be in touch with you on how best we can 
work together.

Thank you for your time, consideration and leadership as Climate Envoy.


Climate Crisis and Militarism Project, Veterans For Peace


Signed by

44 National Organizations

98 (prominent) Individual Endorsers
  (including Brian Willson)

15 International Groups

28 (prominent) International Individuals

54 Veterans For Peace chapters

101 State and Local Organizations
  (including Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group)

5 Other Organizations

(345 signatures total)

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