Fighting for a U.S. federal budget that prioritizes peace, economic security and shared prosperity
The Real News
A new report by the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, released on Earth Day, has pointed to something seldom acknowledged within the U.S. climate movement: Put simply, war does not just kill people, but it is also killing the planet by worsening the climate crisis.
Titled “No Warming, No War: How Militarism Fuels the Climate Crisis—and Vice Versa,” the report makes a point that even the U.S. The Department of Defense readily admits: that climate change will increasingly act as a “threat multiplier” in fueling armed conflict as the climate crisis worsens. This is also a thesis conveyed in Christian Parenti’s 2011 book Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence.
“Rather than understanding it as a national security crisis, characterizing climate change as a ‘planetary emergency’ may help to see beyond a militarized worldview and instead foster a spirit of global cooperation,” the report reads. “Choosing solidarity over security, real safety comes when we care for each other and our environment.”
Pointing to a 2019 study by Brown University’s Neta Crawford, who The Real News interviewed back in July, the report points out that the Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than the countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Portugal—combined. And citing a 2018 report published by the group Securing America’s Energy Future, the report further points out that the U.S. military spends $81 billion per year protecting global sealanes for oil. Yet another example of imperial excess, the report points to the B-52 military jet, which emits more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere in one hour than an average car does in seven years.
Beyond rejecting the “national security” framework, the report also challenges the notion of “greening the military,” something promoted by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) during her bid to become the Democratic Party presidential candidate.
“Plans to make the U.S. war machine more fuel-efficient miss the point entirely,” they write. “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.”