COP21 – war and peace

28.11.2015 - Rédaction France

This post is also available in: French

COP21 – war and peace

Par Ben Cramer.

An argu­ment can be made that COP21 must address the sub­ject of war and peace as an eco­log­i­cal issue.
Because secrecy veils the true num­bers, it is dif­fi­cult to accu­rately deter­mine the amount of atmos­pheric pol­lu­tion caused by the mil­i­tary. Nonethe­less, it is sig­nif­i­cant.
A cer­tain cor­re­la­tion can be found between the biggest C02 emit­ters of the world
and those who are in charge of the most mil­i­ta­rized com­plex.
How come the IPCC does not take into account this form of destruc­tive human activ­ity?
Let’s look at Air­craft emis­sions, for example.

To tackle the issue of mil­i­tary pol­lu­tion we need real, hard data. This means find­ing the right means, the right peo­ple, in the right place to work with us.
The video shows one exam­ple of the pol­lut­ing aspect from the impact of mil­i­tary con­flict. Burnt fields, exploita­tion and out­right theft of raw mate­ri­als diverted to mil­i­tary rather than peace­ful use, and the «dif­fer­en­ti­ated sta­tus» granted to cer­tain coun­tries under the Kyoto Pro­to­col are other exam­ples of pollution-​inducing mil­i­tary activ­i­ties that should be explored and dis­cussed.
US mil­i­tary oper­a­tions to pro­tect oil imports com­ing from the Mid­dle East are cre­at­ing larger amounts of green­house gas emis­sions than once thought, new research from the Uni­ver­sity of Nebraska-​Lincoln shows.

Green cli­mate fund

The mas­sive finan­cial resources allo­cated, absorbed or con­fis­cated by the mil­i­tary is another essen­tial issue to be addressed, but we have to be smart because the armed forces are posi­tion­ing them­selves as part of the solu­tion. And, whether we like it or not, they will have an influ­ence amongst the var­i­ous del­e­ga­tions. We must move beyond the pre­vi­ous idyl­lic con­cepts — that fund­ing for mis­siles and tanks should be diverted towards so-​called «devel­op­ment», for exam­ple. The «pol­luters pay» prin­ci­ple seems to have been for­got­ten. New pro­pos­als are needed, not only tax­a­tion of weapons trans­fers or even­tual taxes on nuclear war­heads but also other link­ages that would cre­ate spe­cific funds for dis­crete and com­pelling pur­poses. Money to aid and res­cue refugees, assist NGO’s work­ing on de-​pollution and decon­t­a­m­i­na­tion of mil­i­tary sites, fund­ing to help and defend whis­tle blow­ers. We have an oppor­tu­nity to high­light the huge gap between money spent by cer­tain big pow­ers on mil­i­tary assis­tance and that which is offered for cli­mate assis­tance.
The risks related to geo-​engineering could be a major focal point for us, par­tic­u­larly since the play­ers behind the pro­pos­als to «cli­ma­tise the planet» are often found to be linked in some way to the military-​industrial com­plex — many of whom have been the most vocal nuclear hawks. Focus­ing on geo-​engineering also gives us the oppor­tu­nity to point out that the 1978 ENMOD Con­ven­tion has been lying dor­mant for more than 20 years. The time is ripe to give ENMOD a new life, to reaf­firm the link­age between dis­ar­ma­ment and envi­ron­ment, and to enshrine Novem­ber 6 as a day of remem­brance with the same impor­tance as that of the first of May, June 5th or Sep­tem­ber 21. Activists from Iraq hope to address this issue at the Alter­na­tive Forum being held in Mon­treuil con­cur­rently with the main COP21 forum in le Bour­get and it’s our job to ensure the media makes this con­nec­tion. French activists should not for­get that France is the only NWS (and Israel) that has refused to sign the Con­ven­tion.
The main­stream Paris agenda will try to avoid these crit­i­cal issues, fram­ing the nuclear prob­lems as an energy «solu­tion» thus con­fus­ing the politi­cians and the pub­lic with degrees, ppm, and other fig­ures. Nev­er­the­less, there is a grow­ing num­ber of pub­lic fig­ures and jour­nal­ists who are seri­ous, ded­i­cated and ready to look at the hid­den side of IPCC and the incon­ve­nient truth sur­round­ing the Kyoto Pro­to­col. COP21 is the best oppor­tu­nity we have to raise these issues and it’s loca­tion itself pro­vides an impor­tant clue for them … the sim­ple fact the COP21 is tak­ing place at the pre­cise spot that hosts some of the world’s largest arms fairs (Eurosatory, Euron­aval, Milipol, Bour­get Air Show) should serve as a reminder and an inspi­ra­tion for all of us. COP21 might not be a peace con­fer­ence, but it would be a step in the right direc­tion if peo­ple real­ize that nego­ti­a­tions about Cli­mate Change share much in com­mon cause with those con­fer­ences that deal with Disarmament.

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