from the archives COP17 Durban; Time to address Militarism’s Massive Contribution to the Climate Crisis Print
Peace News
Written by Joan Russow
Saturday, 31 March 2018 09:24


FRom the archives 2011

COP17 Durban; Time to address Militarism’s Massive Contribution to the Climate Crisis

-Joan Russow GlobalCompliance Research Project 
At COP15 in Copenhagen and at COP 16 in Copenhagen, there were calls to address the contribution of militarism to climate change:both as a drain on resources which could be spent on addressing serious consequences of climate change but also as a serious cause of climate change 






A 2011 version of the Emperor's new Clothes



Throughout the years, through international agreements, member states of the United Nations have recognized that the military budget has been a waste and misuse of resources. Currently the Global Community is now spending 1.7 trillion per year on the military budget at a time when many basic and fundamental rights have not been fulfilled.

In 1976 at Habitat 1, member states of the United Nations affirmed the following in relation to the military budget:

"The waste and misuse of resources in war and armaments should be prevented. All countries should make a firm commitment to promote general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control, in particular in the field of nuclear disarmament. Part of the resources thus released should be utilized so as to achieve a better quality of life for humanity and particularly the peoples of developing countries" (II, 12 Habitat 1).

In 1981, in the General Assembly resolution entitled Resolution on the reduction of the military budget, the member states

(i) reaffirmed "the urgent need to reduce the military budget, and agreed to freeze and reduce the military budget";

(ii) recognised that "the military budget constitutes a heavy burden for the economies of all nations, and has extremely harmful consequences on international peace and security";

(iii) reiterated the appeal "to all States, in particular the most heavily armed States, pending the conclusion of agreements on the reduction of military expenditures, to exercise self-restraint in their military expenditures with a view to reallocating the funds thus saved to economic and social development, particularly for the benefit of developing countries" (Resolution on the Reduction of Military budgets, 1981).

These appeals were further reinforced in a 1983 General Assembly Resolution on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development, that stated that “curbing the arms build-up would make it possible to release additional resources for use in economic and social development, particularly for the benefit of the developing countries."

Also in the 1993 resolution, member states considered that "the magnitude of military expenditures is now such that their various implications can no longer be ignored in the efforts pursued in the international community to secure the recovery of the world economy and the establishment of a new international economic order."

Also in 1992, all member states recognized that "Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development" ( Rio Declarations. Principle 24, UNCED, 1992), and in Chapter 33, of Agenda 21, member states of the United Nations made a commitment to the "the reallocation of resources presently committed to military purposes" (33.18e)

In 1994, in adopting the statement from the International Conference on Population and Development, the member states of the United Nations concurred that the attainment of ?quantitative and qualitative goals of the present Programme of Action clearly require additional resources, some of which could become available from a reordering of priorities at the individual, national and international levels. However, none of the actions required? Nor all of them combined? is expensive in the context of either current global development or military expenditures." (Article 1.19)

In 1995, similarly, states in adopting the statement from the Social Development Summit endorsed the calling for ?the reallocation of military spending to ensure a greater pocket of resources to expand public services. Again, in 1995, member states of the United Nations reconfirmed these commitments by adopting the Platform of Action at the UN conference on Women, Equality, Development and Peace. In the Platform of Action, States have made a commitment to maintain ?peace and security at the global, regional and local levels, together with the prevention of policies of aggression ... and the resolution of armed conflict? (Art. 14) and to reduce "...military expenditures" (Art. 15), states have also made a commitment to the ?prevention and resolution of conflicts? (Art.15) and to ?increase and hasten, ... the conversion of military resources and related industries to development and peaceful purposes" (145a).

In the 1984 General Assembly Resolution entitled the Right of Peoples to Peace, there were "Appeals to all States and international organizations to do their utmost to assist in implementing the right of peoples to peace through the adoption of ...measures at both the national and the international level." (4. Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace approved by General Assembly resolution 39/11 of 12 November 1984)

It is time for the member states of the United Nations to give substance to the years of commitment to substantially reduce the military budget.

Currently the Global Community is now spending 1.7 trillion per year on the military budget at a time when many basic and fundamental rights have not been fulfilled: the right to affordable and safe housing; the right to unadulterated food (pesticide-free and genetically engineered-free food); the right to safe drinking water; the right to a safe environment; the right to universally accessible, not for profit health care; and the right to free and accessible education.

The global commons (air, water, and forests) is being bought and sold in carbon markets under the guise that this is the ONLY feasible means of generating funds to take necessary actions to prevent and adapt to impacts of climate change. The result is further concentration of wealth and power, at the expense of the planet and humanity.


Excerpt from submission to COP16
“• Militarism, through wars and military actions (overt and covert) around the world, has inflicted massive suffering and civilian casualties.
• Militarism is likely the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet, yet the IPCC does not indicate in a separate category the extent of military contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.
• Access to more oil, the burning of which is a fundamental cause of climate change - is the primary underlying motive for current wars. 
• Both warfare and climate change are rendering large areas uninhabitable - displacing millions of people as refugees, and yet the rights of immigrants are increasingly limited, threatened and abused. 
• Climate change is likely to result in far more wars, being a “threat multiplier” and now recognized as the greatest looming threat to "security". Access to resources – including land, food, water – is already becoming increasingly challenging, and scarcities will likely trigger conflict and further displacement in the future. 
• Militarism is the largest source of toxic chemical and radioactive poisoning of peoples and environment around the globe, and plays a major role in promoting false solutions that only worsen the problems (biofuels, nuclear technologies, climate geoengineering etc.)”

1..Delegitimize war- Given the social, environmental, health, human rights, economic consequences of war, under no conditions or circumstance is war legal or just.
2.End any attempt to undermine the international resolve to prevent the scourge of war; this would include not engaging in intimidation, in cajoling or in offering economic incentives in exchange for support for military interventions.
3.End the reluctance to abide by the 1975 Declaration on the Use of Scientific and Technological Progress in the Interests of Peace and for the Benefit of humanity.
4.Dismantle the UN Security Council because it violates a fundamental principle in the Charter of the United Nations- the sovereign equality of states, and bestow more power to the UN General Assembly that does respect this principle.
5.End the misconstruing of Article 51 (self-defence) of the Charter of the United Nations to justify premeditated non-provoked military aggression, or to use various such pretexts for invading other sovereign states.
6.Abandon the guise of the pre-emptive/preventive attack policy that has resulted in aggressive attacks on sovereign states and that has been in violation of the Article 2 of United Nations and international law as being the 'supreme' international crime of a war of aggression.
7.End the practice of invoking Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations rather than invoking Chapter VI - the peaceful resolutions of disputes - and be prepared to be judged by the International Court of Justice.
8.End the practice of disrespecting of the jurisdiction and decisions of the International Court of Justice. 
9. Withdraw immediately from any military involvement and occupation of sovereign states.

10.End the trumping of health, environment, civil and political and human rights for the sake of “security, power and profit.

11.End the use of "human security" which has been extended to "humanitarian intervention", and used along with the "responsibility to protect" or with right to intervene with a view to justifying military intervention in other states.

12.True security is "common security", as defined in documents prepared by Olaf Palme, and which entrench peremptory norms related to the preventing war and conflict, guaranteeing human rights, protecting the environment, and ensuring social justice.

13.End the practice of targeting or assisting in the assassination of leaders of other sovereign states, and of engaging in "regime change".

14.End the practice of mollifying public opposition by couching aggressive acts in euphemistic "operations" such as "Operation Just Cause", “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, "Operation Enduring Freedom",

15.End the destabilization of states and regions through the sale of arms, including through the guise of “foreign aid’ or through infiltration of NGOs, such as USAID, NED, Freedom House or through fundamentalist Christians in groups such as Operation Rescue.

16.End the production of land mines and end the procrastination, by those responsible, to remove land mines from all areas of the world where land mines are known to exist.

17.End the reluctance of nuclear arms states to comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by failing to implement Article VI of the Treaty, (Article VI: commits all parties to pursue negotiations in good faith on measures to end the nuclear arms race and to achieve disarmament.).

18 .End the production of all weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear, chemical, and biological, as agreed to in UNCHE in 1972, and in specific conventions. And discontinue the gutting of the Treaty on Cluster bombs

19.Suffocate the production of uranium, end importing and exporting of uranium, prohibit the use of weapons such as those with depleted uranium and cluster and end the continued profit-making from the sale of arms and trade in small arms.

20.Disband NATO for its disregard of the international rule of law, including the objective of the Charter of the United Nations, and the Convention against Torture.

21.Prohibit propaganda for war (ICCPR), including establishing military bases, engaging in war games, producing and selling of armaments, and holding arms exhibitions.
22.End the unequal treatment of the states that possess nuclear weapons or nuclear weapon capabilities such as the destabilizing impact of the Middle East as a result of the possession of nuclear weapons by Israel.
23.End the disregard for the obligations under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty to ensure that exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind [humanity]. 
24 Repeal the Patriot Act and Anti-Terrorism Act because they violate civil and political rights, and results in racial profiling. 
25 .End the practice of “rendering”- sending “persons of interests” to countries which are known to condone torture. 
26.End the refusal to be judged by an international tribunal for any actions that might be deemed to violate international law related to crimes against the peace, to war crimes, or to genocide. 
27.End the misuse of UN "peacekeeping" forces to clean up aggressive acts of destruction and occupation caused by other states.
28 Close and convert, to peaceful purposes, all foreign military bases in sovereign states around the world.
29.End the production, circulation and berthing of nuclear powered or nuclear arms-capable vessels throughout the world. 
30 .End "War Games" or "Military Exercises" such as Exercise Trident Fury or Northwest Training Range complex.
31 .Discontinue the propping up and financing of military dictators and abandon the long standing policy enunciated against Somoza “he’s a bastard but he is our bastard”. 
32 .Demilitarize the economy by reallocating resources presently committed to military purposes to provide for the needs of citizens to pass on the peace dividend to the developing countries as undertaken through numerous UN Conference Action Plans and UN General Assembly Resolutions and Declarations.
33.End misplaced spending priorities: on militarism, on adulterated unsafe food, on production of products and substances harmful to the environment and human health, and redirecting budgetary expenses to eradicate poverty.