Military vs. Climate Security

Want a bit more on money How about this: “For every dollar allocated for stabilizing the climate,” says Miriam Pemberton, the author of a new report from Washington’s Institute for Policy Studies, comparing the US military and climate-protection budgets, “the government will spend $88 on achieving security by military force.” And the United States spends 50 times as much arming the world as it does helping other countries address global warming.”

There’s more detail, of course, much more. For example, technology transfer, which surfaced as such a key issue at the recent Bali talks. Here, as it happens, “The U.S. government budgeted $20 to develop new weapons systems for every dollar it requested to develop new technologies to stabilize the climate.”

Not that this is likely to come as much a surprise. The surprise would be if the next US administration makes much of a change in these dismal, even suicidal ratios.

Jared Diamond steps to the edge

Diamond, of course, is the author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail of Succeed, a book that illustrated, in excruciating detail, the myriad varieties of blindness that human societies have over the years chosen over what we might call environmental realism. Elites, in particular, have a long track record of willful, and ultimately suicidal self regard, and it’s the attention that Diamond paid to this fact that made his book such a milestone.

This little op-ed unfortunately sets that key point aside. The divisions mentioned here are only divisions between rich nations and poor, as if the divisions between rich and poor within nations were not equally decisive. Still, it was good to see Diamond’s bald claim that …

The average rates at which people consume resources like oil and metals, and produce wastes like plastics and greenhouse gases, are about 32 times higher in North America, Western Europe, Japan and Australia than they are in the developing world.”

… in the august pages of the New York Times. It was a fitting welcome to the new year. And it was, of course, a warning.

Stop Climate Chaos Manifesto

We’ve got a lot going on here in the US, but somehow we don’t quite have anything like the Stop Climate Chaos coalition. If you don’t believe it, take a look at the SCC policy platform, which you can find here. Not only has this huge coalition — which includes development and ecumenical groups as well as self-identified greens — committed itself to fighting to keep total warming below the 2C line (total surface warming, since pre-industrial times), it also draws conclusions. Like that, for example, if we’re to hold the 2C line, global emissions must peak within 10 years. And that

“Given that the industrialized countries bear historical responsibility for climate change and that the rest of the world lacks access to the resources needed to build low carbon economies, it is essential that the former begin now to provide the necessary financial and technical resources to help rapidly industrialising countries commence mitigation strategies.” Continue reading “Stop Climate Chaos Manifesto”