“War is costing us the world”: last days of the campaign against military spending GDAMS 2023

The Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS 2023) are taking place this year under the slogan “War costs us the world” (see the Global Days of Action on Military Spending, May 9, 2023).

The campaign will end on 9 May. You can still join the campaign via this LINK.

The world’s militaries are responsible for approximately five per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet their carbon footprint, as well as the various ways in which they contribute to climate collapse, are rarely examined. Our governments currently spend more than $2 trillion on militarisation, but this military build-up is incompatible with efforts to meet essential emissions targets and will exacerbate, not curb, the climate emergency. War and armed conflict lead not only to death and destruction, but also to environmental devastation and climate collapse. While our governments may argue that such “defence” spending is necessary, it will ultimately leave us defenceless in the face of the existential threat posed by the climate crisis.

Global warming poses a serious and sustained risk to our planet’s climate cycles, and the resulting weather catastrophes often exacerbate existing injustices, potentially leading to conflicts over access to land and basic resources, as well as forced displacement. Tackling climate change must involve addressing other structural problems such as poverty, economic shocks and weakening institutions. This is especially true in regions that have contributed the least to the climate crisis, but are the most affected by its devastating consequences.

In addition to their carbon footprint, the world’s military structures also contribute to the climate crisis in other key ways:

Crucially, military spending diverts resources from essential environmental and social spending, including efforts to slow the speed of climate change, address loss and damage, and respond to weather emergencies.
– Military structures in the form of national armies, militarised police forces or private security companies are often deployed to protect the fossil fuel industry. This sector is one of the largest producers of GHGs and their protection by the force makes them complicit in these emissions.
Despite the urgency of protecting our ecosystems from environmental destruction, when environmental activists try to safeguard their lands, rivers and seas, they are too often violently repressed by militarised security structures that include the police, private security companies and sometimes the military.
The link between fossil fuels and extractivism, and armed conflict and war is well documented from the colonial period to today’s wars.
The link between fossil fuels and extractivism, and armed conflict and war is well documented. Just as the border security apparatus currently contains people and prevents them from reaching safety or claiming asylum, armies are likely to be further deployed to keep out those fleeing climate disasters.
Moreover, the arms industry, which in many ways is the backbone of militarism, spends a lot of time and money lobbying for it to promote its own profit-driven agenda. In recent years, it has used the climate crisis as an opportunity to position itself as a key player in the design of “greener” weapons and has lobbied for more funding for this purpose. This approach prolongs and deepens the logic that drives militarism and war.

Political leadership has focused on belligerence and threats, stoking tension and fear, rather than cultivating international relations based on mutual trust, diplomacy and cooperation, three essential components for it to make for the global nature of the climate threat. Funds that could be used to mitigate or reverse climate degradation and to promote non-violent conflict transformation, disarmament and global justice initiatives are instead used to militarise an already over-militarised world.

We therefore urgently call on governments to make:

Change course and focus on rapid and profound cuts in military spending, which drives an arms race and fuels wars;
Demilitarise public policies, including those designed to address the climate crisis;
Pursue policies focused on human security and common security that protect people and the planet, not the profit-driven agenda of the arms and fossil fuel industries;
Demilitarise the planet and not the profit-driven agenda of the arms and fossil fuel industries;
Create governance structures and partnerships based on mutual trust and understanding, cooperation and true diplomacy, where conflicts are resolved through dialogue, not war.

The opportunity cost of doing otherwise can no longer be higher.

War costs us the world!

Add your organisation to this appeal by filling out this form, or by writing to coordination.gcoms@ipb.org.

More information at: demilitarize.org

Redacción Madrid