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UN High Level Event: Impact of Militarism on Climate Change PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Sunday, 23 September 2007 22:07


Earth News

UN High Level Event: Impact of Militarism on Climate Change Can No Longer Be Ignored

PEJ News- Joan Russow -Global Compliance Research Project - When addressing a recent session of the UN General Assembly. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon affirmed "We cannot go on this way for long," "We cannot continue with business as usual. The time has come for decisive action on a global scale."

When the leaders of the member states of the United Nations meet for the high-level event, entitled "The Future in our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change," warnings can no longer be heeded and one of the “decisive actions” which must be addressed is the global impact of militarism on climate change.




For years, member states of the United Nations have been warned about climate change and have been incurring obligations and making commitments related to climate change through a range of Conventions, Conference Action plans and General Assembly resolutions. The Time for procrastination has long since passed.

If only the member states of the United Nations had heeded the warning and recommendations from the 1988 Changing Climate Conference.

In 1988, scientists, politicians and members of non Government organizations (NGOs) met at the Changing Atmosphere Conference in Toronto to address the issue of climate change and warned that:

"Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequence could be second only to a global nuclear war. The Earth's atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from wasteful fossil fuel use ... These changes represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe.... it is imperative to act now".

In the Conference Statement from the 1988 Conference, the participants, scientists, government representatives, industry, other organizations called for:
" The Stabilizing of the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is an imperative goal. It is currently estimated to require reductions of more than 50% from present [1988] emission levels. Energy research and development budgets must be massively directed to energy options which would eliminate or greatly reduce CO2 emissions and to studies undertaken to further refine the target reductions."

The Climate Change Convention, which was signed and ratified by most member states, including the United States, of the United Nations, came into force in the spring of 1994. Under the Convention, the signatories of the Convention were bound to invoke the precautionary principle which affirmed that governments should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent, or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there is the threat of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent the threat."

While the threat of climate change has been obvious for decades, policy makers in governments and the private sector including the military establishment, as the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, have refused to address the urgency of the crisis. Largely coerced into this position by industry, industry front groups, industry funded academics and industry controlled states, they have not only failed to address the urgency of the crisis through their reluctance to enact effective legislation, they have also failed to even consider the sufficient resources that will be required to protect the poor and most vulnerable from the current and future impacts of climate change. In addition, they have failed to consider the need to assist low-lying states and small island developing states that have already been impacted by climate change, and to compensate the global displacement of people resulting from climate change.


During the September 5-7 DPI/NGO Conference on Climate Change, several members of the NGO community involved in the Militarism/nuclear matters and in the Peace Caucus gathered to draft a Statement expressing their concern about the failure to address the impact of militarism on climate change.

This Statement was presented at the end of the Plenary to the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. If the leaders are to address “challenge of Climate Change” they cannot ignore the impact of militarism on climate change.

“Militarism: the Elephant in the Room. DPI/NGO Climate Change Conference

New York, September 7, 2007:
Declaration by NGO military/nuclear matters breakfast networking meeting, and the NGO Peace Caucus at the DPI/NGO Climate Change Conference:

In 1992, at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), most member states of the United Nations negotiated, subsequently signed and ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose objective was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We
(i) demand that the DPI not be silent and refer to military and nuclear matters in all its activities;

(ii) call upon the member states of the United Nations to act on the commitment in Chapter 33 of Agenda 21, to reallocate military expenses;

(iii) call upon the UNGA to acknowledge the inextricable link between climate change and conflict over resources, such as oil, water etc.;

(iv) call upon member states of the United Nations to act on the commitments made in Beijing, in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women, to ensure that all corporations, including transnationals, comply with international law, including international environmental law;

(v) call upon the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to investigate and estimate the full impact on greenhouse gas emissions by the military and demand that each state release information related to the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of all weapons systems, military exercises, from war games, weapons testing, military aviation, environmental warfare, troop transfer, military operations, waste generation, reconstruction after acts of violent interventions etc.;

(vi) support the call for the disbanding of NATO, whose collective activities have contributed to, not only the perpetuation of the scourge of war and the violation of international peremptory norms, but also the substantial release of greenhouse gas emissions.

If citizens are willing to do their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, member states of the United Nations must stop subsidizing the fossil fuel and military industries and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must discontinue its promotion of nuclear energy – the most hazardous and expensive form of energy known - as the solution to climate change.

The climate and the web of life are in a state of crisis now. "We the peoples" must be bold and act now. We cannot silent.”


Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 July 2015 09:16

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