Demilitarization for Deep Decarbonization:
Reducing Militarism and Military Expenditures to Invest in the UN Green Climate Fund and to Create Low-Carbon Economies and Resilient Communities
By Tamara Lorincz, Senior Researcher
International Peace Bureau
International Peace Bureau
1. Disarm and demilitarize for climate justice and sustainable development. In 2004, a UN Group of Governmental Experts released a report, The Relationship between Disarmament and Development in the Current International Context, and advocated for the mainstreaming of the disarmament-development relationship. Thus, an integrated parallel process of disarmament and demilitarization must be pursued alongside climate mitigation and adaptation and the post-2015 development agenda.\
2. Reduce and re-direct military spending to climate finance and research, development, demonstration and deployment (RDD&D). The International Energy Agency (IEA) calculated that the total additional investment needs for mitigation for the period 2010-2050 are US $45 trillion. The IEA also estimated that funding for climate RDD&D requires a two to five fold increase to $40-90 billion annually. Combined, this is approximately $1 trillion a year for mitigation and research for the next forty years and roughly equivalent to annual military expenditures.
3. Mitigate and adapt to prevent the drastic impacts of climate change in the Arctic, stop its industrialization and militarization. Countries, such as Russia, the United States, and Canada have plans for increased natural resource development and shipping in the Arctic. These countries are also modernizing their navies for the Arctic environment. Yet to protect this fragile ecosystem and stay within the carbon budget, oil and gas should stay under the ice. their navies for the Arctic environment. The region should be demilitarized, declared a nuclear-weapons free zone and a zone of peace.
4. Convert defence industries into civilian, green industries to create a low-carbon economy. The UN Group of Governmental Experts’ 2004 report, recommended that conversion should be encouraged for disarmament and development. To tackle the climate crisis, a conversion plan would help lay the foundation for building a green economy. A University of Massachusetts report found that more jobs could be created with $1 billion in government expenditures in health care, education, and construction than in the military.
5. Abolish nuclear weapons and avoid nuclear energy. Due to the inherent link with nuclear weapons, nuclear power as a pathway to a low-carbon future should be avoided by the DDPP. Nuclear power risks cost-overruns and accidents. In its report, Nuclear Weapons Cost Study, Global Zero estimated that world spending to date on nuclear weapons exceeded one trillion dollars per decade and predicted that another trillion dollars will be spent over the next decade as countries modernize their arsenals.
6. Integrate cooperation, peacebuilding and nonviolence for climate-resilient communities. Cooperation is necessary to stay within the carbon budget in an equitable and just way. The UNFCCC has established the cooperative architecture of diplomacy and the rule of law to peacefully resolve climate conflict. At the local level, peacebuilding and nonviolent conflict resolution help to ensure climate resiliency in communities. Climate change must not be securitized as a threat multiplier that requires a robust military response.