Today marks UN International Peace Day

Today marks UN International Peace Day

To coincide with this and the UN General Assembly meeting September 14-27, Tipping Point North South’s Transform Defence project publishes its updated briefing:

‘Reset for the 21st century’: The Global Military and the United Nations

We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction yet the foreign and defence policies of nations around the world – especially the top 20 nations which allocate large sums to defence spending – are preoccupied with a plethora of adversarial and conventional threats on land, air, sea and space as well as with nuclear weapons, cyber weaponry and AI.

Meantime, climate change and pandemic are laying bare the magnitude and depth of the desperate state we are in. The post-pandemic global economy, coming not so long after the 2008 crash, will further compound this with ever greater poverty and inequality.

Alongside all past and present wars and conflicts, it seems we have also collectively declared war on ourselves and our planet. But no F-35 will stop New York City, Alexandria, Shanghai, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Venice, Bangkok, Mumbai and London going under water; no nuclear warhead will solve India and Pakistan’s disappearing water-table; no anti-terror AI will stop West Africa’s growing desertification.

The briefing pulls together the various ways in which the global military as whole- primarily the top 20 spenders and arms sellers- impact on the SDGs; on climate change itself;  and the intersection of both.

It explores:

  • Why the impact of the global military on climate change demands much more attention and scrutiny at UN level
  • Why we need to divert runaway military spending to make up the SDGs funding shortfall
  • How a wider debate on definitions of ‘security’ and ‘defence’ is of benefit to the UN and citizens of the world
  • Why a Security Council high level open debate is needed to bring all these inter-related issues together in order to frame an urgent new 21st century paradigm for security – that of ‘sustainable human safety’.

In light of the UN Secretary General’s call to ‘launch a reset for the 21st century,’ five recommendations are offered up as a way to explore a reset in relation to this much overlooked issue and in turn raise ever greater awareness, debate and action:

  • Apply rigorous evidence-based value-for-money approaches to military spending
  • Part-fund the $2-4 trillion SDGs 2021-2030 funding gap from escalating military budgets 2023-30 and beyond
  • Create a new UNFCCC TOPIC ‘Carbon Neutral Peace and Defence’ and fill the ‘Knowledge Gap’ across UN and national processes on the global military’s greatly under-estimated carbon bootprint
  • Make SDG 16 ‘Peaceful Societies’ much more challenging in its remit in relation to the global military and spending
  • Hold a Security Council high-level open debate on the impact of the global military on climate change and under-development and the concept of ‘Carbon Neutral Peace and Defence

In 2020, the UN issued a report on the occasion of the UN’s 75th anniversary, in September 2020. In the Declaration (A/RES/75/1), Member States recognize that while there have been many achievements in the past 75 years, the world envisaged by the UN’s founders 75 years ago has not yet been realized: it is plagued by growing inequality, poverty, hunger, armed conflicts, terrorism, insecurity, climate change, and pandemics; people are forced to make dangerous journeys in search of refuge and safety; the LDCs are falling behind; and complete decolonization has not been achieved.

In 2021, the UN has mapped out how to take this forward with key proposals across the 12 commitments.

Recommendations from ‘Reset for the 21st century’: The Global Military and the United Nations connect with a number of items within the 12 proposals including:

  1. PROTECT OUR PLANET
    • Commit to the 1.5-degree Celsius goal and net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner
    • Package of support to developing countries
  1. PROMOTE PEACE AND PREVENT CONFLICTS
    • New agenda for peace
      • Invest in prevention and peacebuilding, including Peacebuilding Fund and Peacebuilding Commission
  1. ENSURE SUSTAINABLE FINANCING
    • Support a Sustainable Development Goal investment boost, including through a last-mile alliance to reach those furthest behind
  1. LISTEN TO AND WORK WITH YOUTH
    • Future generations
      • Summit of the Future in 2023
      • Ensure long-term thinking, including through a United Nations Futures Lab
  1. BE PREPARED
    • On global public health
      • Empowered WHO
      • Stronger global health security and preparedness

**********************************

Climate change is increasingly a part of UN Security Council debates and publications and while it may not be accepted by all nations, the time is already upon us to up-end our 19th and 20th century models of security thinking.

We have to acknowledge climate change, global health, inequality/poverty reduction and conflict prevention as top priority, inter-related hard defence issues. We must call time on the ‘Cinderella’ status of these extreme threats to our collective human safety.

The IPCC’s ‘Code Red for Humanity’ speaks to this. The time has come to transform defence for sustainable human safety in the 21st century. The UN, in all its diversity, through all its departments, is at the heart of this much needed transformation

Spring News And Summer Plans

Spring News And Summer Plans

Climate change and pandemic are changing everything, including our activity priorities

Dear friends, supporters and colleagues,

We hope the sunshine finds you well and that you are perhaps able to do a few less zooms and little more socially distanced face-to-face 😀

Hope there’s something of interest for you in our round-up of activity over the past few months – as well as plans for the coming months. Continue reading

Open Letter to UK hosted G7 meeting. Military emissions, climate change and net zero

Open Letter to UK hosted G7 meeting. Military emissions, climate change and net zero

Ahead of the G7 meeting in Cornwall, TPNS/Transform Defence published an Open Letter to PM Boris Johnson. The 26 (international) supporting signatories are seniors figures from science/academia, development and environment NGOs, activism and the arts.

The open letter called for G7 militaries to come clean on their carbon emissions and absence of any meaningful path to get to net zero, ahead of COP 26 in Glasgow. The letter provided four concrete recommendations. Open letter & signatories below

Transform Defence was also covered in a recent article for German public media broadcaster and publisher Deutsche Welle: Scorched Earth: The Climate Impact of Conflict by Stuart Braun.


Open Letter

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

United Kingdom Presidency of the G7 Summit, 2021

Dear Prime Minister,

The global military: clock is ticking on fulfilling its responsibility in reaching net-zero

The world must cut global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% by 2030 if we are to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5˚C – we have less than nine years.[1] While all aspects of human activity are required to urgently decarbonise, one sector remains out of view: the global military.

The global military is currently exempt from compulsory reporting of GHG emissions to the UN/IPCC. Some countries, including the USA, the UK and Germany, voluntarily report, but this is a bare-minimum disclosure as the IPCC template and codes have only a handful of items mentioning domestic military-related activities.

This means the public and policy makers are unable to obtain an accurate picture of the global military’s overall contribution to climate heating ― from its massive fossil fuel consumption both domestically and overseas to its military exercises and expeditions; from the impacts of conflict and war to GHG emissions arising from post-conflict reconstruction or nation re-building.[2]

As a result, the global military, a significant contributor to climate change over decades, continues to carry out its business as usual. Its emissions are estimated to be several percent of total global carbon emissions and are comparable with the carbon emissions of civilian aviation.[3] Military organizations’ efforts to use renewable energy for installations and achieve greater efficiencies in operations are a start, but as yet insufficient and do not address the root cause — namely, modern militaries are completely dependent on fossil fuels and are among the biggest institutional consumers of oil in the world, with no sign of realistic or practical net-zero plans to offset their carbon emissions.

Dr Hoesung Lee, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency[4] have said: “Decarbonising entire economies means tackling sectors where emissions are especially difficult to reduce, such as shipping, trucks, aviation, heavy industries like steel, cement and chemicals, and agriculture.”

The global military must be added to this list.

As part of climate change-related discussions in Cornwall and, critically, in advance of the UK hosting the COP26 UN Climate Conference in November, the time has come for the world’s leading military spending nations to acknowledge the deliberate omission of full compulsory military emissions reporting, the consequential knowledge gap, and the imperative for the world’s militaries to transform themselves and help the world reach net-zero.

The G7 countries (UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the USA) are all in the top 20 military spending nations.

To fully comply with the urgent need to reach net-zero, we call upon the G7 nations to support:

    1. AN IPCC TASK FORCE FOR DECARBONISATION OF MILITARIES AND MILITARY TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRIES. This task force should investigate the climate impact of the military/military technology sectors and devise proposals to address existing (and prevent further) damage. The task force should explore options and recommend solutions to fully decarbonise the world’s militaries and military technology industries without resorting to solutions that have other adverse environmental and social impacts (eg nuclear power and biofuels). Among these solutions should be proposals to transform military assets into climate-resilience hubs in vulnerable communities and countries, explore demilitarisation options, and enhance sustainable human security as defined by the United Nations.
    2. AN IPCC SPECIAL REPORT on the role of the global militaries and military technology industries in contributing to climate change, assessing existing and future social and environmental impacts and exploring response options.
    3. COMPULSORY SUBMISSIONS TO THE IPCC/UNFCCC OF FULL GHG MILITARY EMISSIONS REPORTING BY ALL NATIONS. Nations’ militaries, military industries, and attendant conflicts and wars must be included in their GHG emission reporting and carbon-reduction targets. This reporting must also include emissions incurred overseas, especially for nations with overseas bases. The Task Force on National GHG Inventories must look into how to incorporate these into the next Refinement to the IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories.
    4. NATIONALLY DETERMINED CONTRIBUTIONS (NDCs): ALL COUNTRIES TO INCLUDE THEIR MILITARIES AND MILITARY TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRIES IN THEIR GHG EMISSION REDUCTION PLANS AND TARGETS, taking into account total carbon bootprints of their militaries and military technology industries. Governments and militaries to publish their plans to decarbonise to meet the net-zero goal: simple technical measures (e.g. solar panels on military bases or electric killer drones) are not adequate and cannot be substitutes for serious demilitarisation options.

Critical relationship to the SDGs

Calculating and addressing the carbon burden of conflict and war means acknowledging the impact of military activity on conflict-driven poverty and displacement. It also means addressing the untold billions of dollars in military spending that is spent unnecessarily — as a consequence of waste, fraud and abuse — on many nations’ military spending and which should now be part of all discussions concerning funding sources to plug the significant SDGs funding gap.

The eyes of the world are on the UK for this hugely important G7 meeting. The climate change related concerns of civil society must not be side-lined. In a climate-changed world that urgently needs to get to net-zero, this is yet one more challenging social and environmental justice issue for the G7 of 2021 which can no longer be swept under the carpet.

Yours sincerely,

Deborah Burton, Kevin McCullough

Co-Founders Tipping Point North South/Transform Defence Project

Supporting Signatories

Christine Allen Executive Director, CAFOD (UK/Int’l)
Amir Amirani Documentary Filmmaker (UK)
Nick Buxton Future Labs Co-ordinator, The Transnational Institute (Netherlands/Int’l)
Linsey Cottrell Environmental Policy Officer, The Conflict and Environment Observatory (UK/Europe)
Dr Neta C. Crawford Professor and Chair of the Department Political Science, Boston University and Co‑Director of the Costs of War Project. (USA)
Nick Dearden Director, Global Justice Now (UK)
Fiona Dove Executive Director, The Transnational Institute (Netherlands/Int’l)
Martin Drewry CEO Health Poverty Action (UK/Int’l)
Brian Eno Musician (UK)
Andrew Feinstein Author, former ANC MP, Executive Director Shadow World Investigations (UK/Int’l)
Pat Gaffney Vice President Pax Christi (UK)
Jeff Halper Author, Founder Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (Israel)
Dr Jason Hickel Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths University of London; Visiting Senior Fellow, International Inequalities Institute at LSE (UK/Eswatini)
Charles Kenny Author, Economist (USA)
Dr Ho-Chih Lin Lead Researcher, Tipping Point North South / Transform Defence (UK)
Tamara Lorincz Author, PhD candidate in Global Governance at the Balsillie School for International Affairs (Canada)
Caroline Lucas Green Party MP (UK)
Priya Lukka Visiting Fellow Goldsmiths University of London, International Development Economist (UK)
Linda Melvern Author, Journalist (UK)
Pablo Navarrete Journalist, Documentary Filmmaker (UK/Chile)
Dr Benjamin Neimark Senior Lecturer at the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University (UK)
Dr Stuart Parkinson Executive Director, Scientists for Global Responsibility (UK)
Dr. Samuel Perlo‑Freeman Research Coordinator, Campaign Against Arms Trade (UK)
Prof Paul Rogers
John Sauven Executive Director, Greenpeace UK
Andrew Simms Co-director New Weather Institute, Co-ordinator Rapid Transition Alliance (UK)
Fionna Smyth Head of Global Policy and Advocacy, Christian Aid (UK/Int’l)

References

[1] https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

[2] Ho-Chih Lin and Deborah Burton, ‘Indefensible: The true cost of the global military to our climate and human security,’ Transform Defence, 2020, https://transformdefence.org/publication/indefensible/; Neta C. Crawford, “Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War,” Costs of War Project, 2019, https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/papers/ClimateChangeandCostofWar; Oliver Belcher, Patrick Bigger, Ben Neimark, and Cara Kennelly, “Hidden Carbon Costs of the ‘everywhere war’: Logistics, Geopolitical Ecology, and the Carbon Boot-print of the US Military,” 2019, https://rgs-ibg.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tran.12319; Various reports by Stuart Parkinson and colleagues, Scientists for Global Responsibility, https://www.sgr.org.uk/projects/climate-change-military-main-outputs.

[3] Ho-Chih Lin and Deborah Burton, ‘Indefensible: The true cost of the global military to our climate and human security,’ Transform Defence, 2020, https://transformdefence.org/publication/indefensible/; Various reports by Stuart Parkinson and colleagues, Scientists for Global Responsibility, https://www.sgr.org.uk/projects/climate-change-military-main-outputs.

[4] https://www.ipcc.ch/2020/07/31/energy-climatechallenge/

Research Partnership with TNI State of Power 2021: Coercive World

Research Partnership with TNI State of Power 2021: Coercive World

Each year, TNI produces a STATE OF POWER resource on a highly topical issue.

TNI, founded in 1974, is an international research and advocacy institute committed to building a just, democratic and sustainable planet.

State of Power 2021

The research for COERCIVE WORLD infographics was undertaken by TPNS/Transform Defence and covers military, police, homeland security and prisons around the world. In light of attacks on Gaza, an additional tab was added addressing Israel’s military and defence industry.

https://longreads.tni.org/state-of-power-2021

MLK Day: Dismantle Triple Evils and Transform Defence

MLK Day: Dismantle Triple Evils and Transform Defence

Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church – then and now.

As the confederate flag was held aloft by white supremacist Trump supporters inside the smashed up heart of USA democracy, it’s clear that America is not turning the corner away from Trumpism. Rather, it seems even darker times are ahead as Biden takes office and the battle between progress and regression takes a terrible new turn for American society.

In all this chaos was the bittersweet win for both the democratic candidates in the Georgia State elections – bittersweet because their win was both the final straw for Trump and those intent on ‘insurrection’ and also a crystal clear rejection of racism as Jon Ossoff, Jewish, and Raphael Warnock, African American, became Georgia’s new senators-in-waiting.

And it was all the more poignant a win since Raphael Warnock is the pastor of Martin Luther King’s church – the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, a church with a longstanding history of fighting racial and social justice struggles and the church where Dr. King’s funeral service was held.

Since 2005, the Reverend Warnock has served as the Senior Pastor of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, spiritual home of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The son of two Pentecostal pastors, Dr. Warnock responded to the call of ministry at a very early age, and at age 35, became the fifth and the youngest person ever called to the senior pastorate of Ebenezer Baptist Church, founded in 1886. 

As we watch the USA implode with racism at the heart of this conflagration; as millions die from a preventable disease; as the world faces another economic crisis post the pandemic, global military spending reaches its highest ever annual sum – $1.9trillion. All this combined with the ever-increasing militarisation of police forces, MLK’s 1960s analysis is as relevant now as ever.

 ‘The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.

Continue reading

New release films to catch this week: MLK/FBI & Santiago Rising

New release films to catch this week: MLK/FBI & Santiago Rising

Two newly released films and the spirit of the moment:
MLK/FBI & Santiago Rising
Dear friends,
FILM: MLK/FBI
As the confederate flag was held aloft by white supremacist Trump supporters inside the smashed up heart of USA democracy, it’s clear that America is not turning the corner away from Trumpism. Rather, it seems even darker times are ahead as Biden takes office and the battle between progress and regression takes a terrible new turn for American society.

In all this chaos was the bittersweet win for both the democratic candidates in the Georgia State elections – bittersweet because their win was both the final straw for Trump and those intent on ‘insurrection’ and also a crystal clear rejection of racism, as Jon Ossoff, Jewish, and Raphael Warnock, African American, became Georgia’s new senators-in-waiting.

And it was all the more poignant a win since Raphael Warnock is the pastor of Martin Luther King’s church – the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

At this very moment, there is no better time to be remembering Dr. King. Ahead of MLK Day (18 January) Dogwoof are releasing the latest film from award-winning film-maker Sam PollardMLK/FBI follows the dirty war that America’s FBI declared on civil rights figurehead Martin Luther King, a vendetta that began in the 50s and ended with his assassination in 1968, inspired by recent revelations and backed up by declassified secret government documents.

Watch trailer

BOOKING

VIRTUAL PREMIERE: TUES 12 JANUARY – BFI PLAYER.  The virtual premiere of this film will be followed by a recorded Q&A with MLK/FBI director Sam Pollard, and a newly commissioned spoken word piece from Aicha Loubassou, exploring and reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr’s experiences while the target of FBI harassment.

Tickets here
https://player.bfi.org.uk/rentals/film/watch-mlkfbi-2020-online

Virtual Cinema Tour See the film locally 15-20th January
Find your nearest cinema & booking here
https://watch.dogwoof.com/page/virtual-cinema/

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THE EVILS OF CAPITALISM ARE AS REAL AS THE EVILS OF MILITARISM AND EVILS OF RACISM.

Find out more about our MLK Global project and why MLK’s ‘triple evils’ remain an interconnected ‘nexus’ that civil society has yet to fully address.

In this essay we explore the damage done by the longstanding, deliberate media and political sidelining of MLK’s radical activism and how led to the masking of the full facts of his murder.  And finally, always inspired by Dr. King’s analysis of militarism, here is our latest project Transform Defence launched in December.

****************
FILM: SANTIAGO RISING
Santiago Rising is the latest documentary film from our colleagues at Alborada Film and directed by Nick MacWilliam.

It takes place on the streets of Chile’s capital city in late 2019 as massive protests over economic inequality engulf the country. Filmed during the weeks after protests began, Santiago Rising meets social movements, protesters and ordinary people in their struggle for equality and human rights.

The film charts the build-up to the historic vote, in October 2020, that saw Chileans vote for a new constitution to replace the one imposed during the brutal Pinochet dictatorship and emphasises the prominent role of music and art in political dissent.

The film shows the state’s attempts to crush the protest movement through a violent police crackdown but although the odds are stacked against them, Chileans find strength in unity as they fight to overcome Pinochet’s enduring legacy.

Watch trailer

‘Chile’s elected governments which followed Pinochet kept the economic model in place: they were largely happy with the anti-trade union laws, the anti-environmental laws, the indigenous discrimination.’
Santiago Rising director Nick MacWilliam. 

BOOKING

THURSDAY 14TH JANUARY Online International Launch: 6.30pm-9.00pm GMT  6.30-9pm London / 3.30-6pm Santiago / 1.30-4pm New York / 10.30am-1pm Los Angeles

Tickets here
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/documentary-premiere-qa-santiago-rising-tickets-133211502189

TPNS 2020 ROUND-UP

TPNS 2020 ROUND-UP

Season’s greetings to all our friends, colleagues and supporters, in this most difficult of years.

The pandemic, coming on top of the climate emergency, demands solutions that rise to the phenomenal challenges facing humanity.  The call for #SystemChange really took hold during the BLM protests after the murder of George Floyd and at the height of the pandemic in the USA. And we do so desperately need system change to address the collective threats of climate breakdown, racial injustice, economic/class inequality alongside deep societal and economic uncertainty.

And when system change does come, as it surely must, our own constant refrain has become this: we must not overlook foreign, defence, security and development in all this.  Our Transform Defence project is at the heart of this. We need a practical, imaginative, brave discussion about redefining and re-making foreign and defence policy such that it is truly fit-for-purpose. That means as understanding its role in climate change, pandemic, economic, racial and gender injustice as part of the system change process.

We want to thank all our funders, major donors and regular givers for their support.   And sadly, on that note, on December 8th, Tipping Point lost another very dear friend. Elizabeth Block – Liz – was a founding member of TPNS, with a deep passion for documentary film.  A New Yorker by birth, she was a journalist specialising in climate change, particularly renewable energy and previously financial journalism.  Liz was a major donor to TP over many years and was always unfailingly supportive and encouraging.  We miss her so much and she has gone too soon. Rest in peace our dear friend. We journeyed a wonderful journey together

So, as we come to the end of 2020, a round-up of links to our activities is below. All’s that left if for us to wish you a safe, happy Christmas and all good things for your New Year.

Deb, Ho-Chih, Kev and all at TPNS


TPNS 2020

TRANSFORM DEFENCE

https://tippingpointnorthsouth.org/2020/12/08/tpns-newinitiative-launched/

Media Release https://transformdefence.org/2020/12/07/media-release/

(Report) INDEFENSIBLE: The true cost of the global military to our climate and human security. https://transformdefence.org/publication/indefensible/

Preface by Professor Neta Crawford , Chair Dept Political Science Boston University

(Report) GLOBAL MILITARY SPENDING, Sustainable Human Safety and Value for Money https://transformdefence.org/publication/value-for-money/

Foreword Jen Maman, Senior Peace Advisor of Greenpeace International.

GREEN NEW DEAL / COVID-19 RECOVERY

Submission to GND Parliamentary Group https://thefivepercentcampaign.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/tipping-point-northsouth-evidence-24-july.pdf [PDF]

(Blog post) Building back better for a post-pandemic Green New Deal

https://transformdefence.org/green-new-deal-plus/gnd-plus-in-a-post-covid-19- world/

(Blog post) In times of Coronavirus: UBI is an idea whose time has finally come

https://tippingpointnorthsouth.org/2020/04/04/in-times-of-coronavirus-ubi-is-an-idea-whose-time-has-finally-come/

OPEN BETHLEHEM Christmas 2020

Special virtual Christmas screening at the Toronto Palestine Film Festival  December 21st

https://www.tpff.ca/virtual-pals-holiday-edition

WE ARE MANY – APRIL SCREENING / SEPT USA LAUNCH

https://tippingpointnorthsouth.org/2020/04/04/sharing-some-more-links-film-event-palestine-covid-appeal-our-future-work/

https://tippingpointnorthsouth.org/2020/09/15/sept-22nd-join-us-to-mark-a-special-north-american-100-cities-virtual-screening-of-we-are-many/

MLK GLOBAL PROJECT – BLM / GEORGE FLOYD STATEMENT

https://mlkglobal.org/2020/07/01/mlk-globals-statement-on-the-killing-of-george-floyd/

TPNS new initiative launched with two new reports and a call to ‘Transform Defence’ on 5th anniversary of Paris Climate Agreement

TPNS new initiative launched with two new reports and a call to ‘Transform Defence’ on 5th anniversary of Paris Climate Agreement

Tipping Point North South has pulled together its various military spending strands under one new banner: Transform Defence for Sustainable Human Safety is a project comprising a number of elements including the Five Percent Proposal and the case that military spending is an urgent international development issue; the global military’s impact on climate change and human insecurity; the absence in UN processes of the global military’s emissions accounting; and its Green New Deal Plus.

Transform Defence for Sustainable Human Safety ​describes the paradigm shift we need for all defence, security​, foreign and international development​ policies​ in a climate changed, post-pandemic world. It challenges NGOs and policy-makers alike to undertake brave discussion about redefining and re-making foreign and defence policy.

The two reports detail the staggering cost of military spending to people and the planet.

The first report, Indefensible: The true cost of the global military to our climate and human security assesses the impact of the global military on climate change, human security and development. The second report Global military spending, sustainable human safety and value for money makes the case for modernising defence and security thinking and spending in order to effectively deal with the biggest threats to our collective safety: climate change and pandemic.[1]

Together, the reports argue that the US$1.9 trillion[2] spent globally each year on the world’s military delivers nothing to defend citizens facing these twin threats. Five years after the Paris Climate Conference, it is time to add the global military’s carbon footprint to the ‘net zero’ debate. The reports call for an assessment of the accountability, efficacy, relevance and value for money of our global military to the threats we face could not be more timely as lives and livelihoods worldwide are destroyed by a foreseen yet completely unaddressed ‘Tier 1’ security threat – pandemic.

For example, Indefensible: The true cost of the global military to our climate and human security estimates that if the world’s militaries were combined together as a single country, they would be the 29th biggest oil consumer in the world, just ahead of Belgium or South Africa. To put it another way, this is half the oil consumption of the world’s 5th biggest economy, the UK. Runaway global military spending enables the world’s militaries to remain the biggest institutional users of fossil fuels in the world and to be major driver for climate change. A carbon-neutral world demands we fully decarbonise our militaries.

“[This report] is an important addition to the growing evidence on the significant role of military emissions in causing climate change. Using a novel methodology, it widens the analysis to all the world’s militaries… it connects the dots between military fuel use, military spending, war, and the burden of climate change on development,” says Neta C. Crawford, Professor and Chair of Political Science Boston University and Co-Director of the Costs of War Project. “… it [also] offers important solutions. It is essential reading for all those concerned with climate change and the path to a sustainable and secure future.”

And as nations update their 2020 Nationally Determined Contributions,[3] the Transform Defence reports call for NGOs and policy-makers alike to undertake a practical, imaginative, brave discussion about redefining and re-making defence policy so it is truly fit-for-purpose and accords the same level of attention, urgency and resources to pandemic and climate change as is granted to conventional security threats.

“[TPNS’s] Global military spending, sustainable human safety and value for money report … demonstrates how deeply inadequate the concept of ‘national security’ is in light of the ongoing pandemic and the rapidly unfolding threats of climate change,” says Jen Maman, Senior Peace Adviser, Greenpeace International. “It asks what we can learn by looking at the policy and spending priorities of governments, and argues that, unquestioned and at our peril, governments are massively outspending on weaponry compared to the climate emergency or global health protection.’’

As we end this very difficult year and look ahead to 2021, we very much hope this new project can add value to the post-Covid recovery debate and in tandem with the discussions leading up to the Glasgow hosted COP in 2021, make the case that the time has come to transform defence for sustainable human security.

Twitter: @TransformDef

Facebook: facebook.com/transformdefence

Notes:

In 2016, total public expenditures on climate change (international and domestic) amounted to US$141 billion while global military expenditures was US$1.7 trillion.[4] On average, the expenditure of national governments on climate change amounted to 8.5% of what they spent on defence, a ratio of 12:1.[5] Since 2016, global military spending has gone up significantly.

Indefensible: The true cost of the global military to our climate and human security also estimates that the global military and defence industry combined accounts for at least 1% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. This is larger than the annual greenhouse gas emissions of the entire country of Italy and not much smaller than the total GHG emissions of the UK and France respectively.

For comparison, international civil aviation is responsible for around 1.3% of global GHG emissions and is a climate change focus of public and political attention. Meanwhile, the global military-industrial complex accounts for a similar  amount of greenhouse gas emissions as civil aviation but it receives no such scrutiny.

Global military spending, sustainable human safety and value for money report uses the F35 fighter jet as a case study to illustrate this imbalance. Had the US$2 trillion estimated global total lifetime cost of F-35 programme been applied to the activities/areas/agencies below this is what the global community would be receiving instead:

  • Climate finance for 20 years
  • UN disaster response for the next 400 years
  • UN disaster risk reduction for the next 4,000 years
  • Global biodiversity conservation at US$100bn per annum for the next 20 years
  • WHO at US$2bn per annum for the next 1,000 years
  • WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for 2,963 years
  • Global pandemic surveillance and control at US$8bn per annum for the next 250 years
  • UN peacekeeping operations at current US$5bn per annum for the next 444 years
  • UN peacekeeping at US$15bn per annum for the next 133 years

References

[1] Both reports build on major work published earlier: the USA Pentagon emissions report “Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War,” by Professor Neta Crawford of the Costs of War Project; UK military emissions “The Environmental Impacts of the UK Military Sector,” by Dr. Stuart Parkinson, Scientists for Global Responsibility; and “Hidden Carbon Costs of the ‘everywhere war’: Logistics, Geopolitical Ecology, and the Carbon Boot-print of the US Military,” by Oliver Belcher, Patrick Bigger, Ben Neimark, and Cara Kennelly.

[2] Trends In World Military Expenditure, 2019, SIPRI. https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/fs_2020_04_milex_0.pdf

[3] See https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement/nationally-determined-contributions-ndcs

[4] https://climatepolicyinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017-Global-Landscape-of-Climate-Finance.pdf

[5] https://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/a-tale-of-two-puzzles-accounting-for-military-and-climate-change-expenditures

Transform Defence

Transform Defence

Transform Defence for Sustainable Human Safety is our new project comprising a number of elements including the Five Percent Proposal and the case that military spending is an urgent international development issue; the global military’s impact on climate change and human insecurity; the absence in UN processes of the global military’s emissions accounting; and Green New Deal Plus.

Transform Defence for Sustainable Human Safety works to put sustainable human safety at the heart of 21st century foreign, defence, security and international development policy-making. We must question the limits of 20th century national self-interest if we are to address the greatest threat to our collective survival – runaway climate change. Transform Defence for Sustainable Human Safety describes the paradigm shift we will need to meet this monumental challenge.

Transform Defence for Sustainable Human Safety is Tipping Point North South’s primary policy/advocacy project. It grew out of its work to make the case that runaway military spending is an unaddressed yet urgent international development issue, initially framed through the Five Percent Proposal and its two-part formula for cuts to global military spending to redirected to global human needs.

This in turn led to research on how runaway global military spending is inextricably linked to the global military’s impact on climate change – its significant emissions burden enabled by those same big budgets and combined, ensuring that international development and human safety is harmed in myriad ways

Additionally, our work now also addresses the absence of military emissions reporting in various critical UN processes and the absence of the military in Green New Deal discussions for a green economic recovery post-Covid-19.

If the expectation of every aspect of human activity is to decarbonise – from agriculture to fashion, transport to house building- then the global military must surely be part of this.  And if this is the case, as it must be, then what does this mean for our collective foreign, defence, security policy-making?

All these threads ultimately lead to one destination – the need to transform defence for sustainable human safety.

We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction.[1]

Yet the most socially and economically damaging threat to our collective global safety – climate change – is nowhere near centre stage in defence/security policy-making.  The numbers speak for themselves.

In 2016, total public expenditures on climate change (international and domestic) amounted to $141 billion in while military expenditures of $1.66 trillion.[2] On average, the expenditure of national governments on climate change amounted to 8.5% of what they spent on defence, a ratio of 12:1.[3]

Every person, community, society, nation, region needs protection from aggressors and terrorists and it is the job of government to defend its citizens from such threats.  But climate chaos and pandemic show us that ‘national security’ – or rather sustainable human safety – policies need to be drawn from a much wider remit if they are to truly rise to the challenge of combating the greatest threats to our collective human safety. The time has come to place conventional threats alongside the much greater but entirely marginalised human safety threats of climate change and pandemic.

Moreover, a much needed cost-benefit analysis of present-day defence spending can only move us towards far greater, genuine ‘value for money’ as we redirect and repurpose military spending from 20th-century ‘national security’ protection of ‘national interests’ to 21st-century sustainable human safety needs.

The climate emergency, Covid-19, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo Movement are all demanding an already long overdue social and economic change.  A practical, imaginative, brave discussion about redefining and re-making foreign and defence policy such that it is truly fit-for-purpose as well as understanding its role in climate change, pandemic, economic, racial and gender injustice must be an integral part of the system change process.

 


[1] What is a ‘mass extinction’ and are we in one now?, https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-mass-extinction-and-are-we-in-one-now-122535

[2] https://climatepolicyinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017-Global-Landscape-of-Climate-Finance.pdf

[3] https://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/a-tale-of-two-puzzles-accounting-for-military-and-climate-change-expenditures

Sept 22nd Join Us To Mark A Special North American ‘100 Cities’ Virtual Screening Of We Are Many

Sept 22nd Join Us To Mark A Special North American ‘100 Cities’ Virtual Screening Of We Are Many

Join us to mark a special North American ‘100 Cities’ virtual cinema screening
We Are Many
September 21st/22nd
Marking the UN International Day of Peace, we are delighted that our film We Are Many will be premiered across the USA and Canada with a wonderful celebratory event that will also include music and a panel discussion.We will be joining the event here in the UK with our own Tipping Point Film Fund ‘virtual cinema’ screening and we hope that those of you who didn’t get to see the film on its release may take this moment to see the film as part of this unique live event taking place across North America.
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Upcoming (Groundbreaking) Webinar Series We’re Keen To Share In A World (Awash) With Drugs

Upcoming (Groundbreaking) Webinar Series We’re Keen To Share In A World (Awash) With Drugs

‘A World with Drugs: Legal Regulation through a Development Lens.’

Invitation to webinar series running September~December

We are delighted to be sharing news of an 8-part international webinar series, co-organised by our friends and colleagues at Health Poverty Action. It will explore why drug policy reform is vital for sustainable development.
Drug policy has been undermining progress towards development for decades – it has fuelled violence and conflict, undermined democracy, driven poverty, inequality and poor health, and prevented access to vital medicines worldwide. Furthermore, drug policy reform – especially legal regulation – could significantly contribute to achieving sustainable development if done in the right way

The decades-long ‘War on Drugs’ and its impact on international development has been an issue TPNS has worked on previously, convinced that the evidence points in one direction only: for all the political capital and money thrown at it, it has been an abject failure on just about every count.

This new international webinar series explores the intersection of drug policy reform and development related issues such as trade justice, tax justice, climate justice, sustainable livelihoods and community participation.  Between September and December, the webinar series will look at how drug policy reform is vital if we wish to achieve sustainable development worldwide.
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Summer e-news + 2 film screening events (Thur 13 & Wed 19 August)

Summer e-news + 2 film screening events (Thur 13 & Wed 19 August)

Summer news – films and campaigns

Hello friends, colleagues and supporters,

We hope you’re coping ok with the heat and staying safe as you can, as we all try our best to navigate these difficult, complicated, prolonged Coronavirus times.

Below is our summer news round-up plus a couple of film recommendations – both speaking to incredibly important issues – and, being robbed of the chance to show in cinemas, the directors are doing the next best thing: virtual events.

We hope you can join them.

Meantime, wishing you a safe and happy rest of the summer.
Deb, Ho-Chih, Kev & all at TP.
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MLK Global’s statement on the killing of George Floyd

MLK Global’s statement on the killing of George Floyd

GEORGE FLOYD

REST IN PEACE

The last words of George Floyd

“I can’t breathe”

It’s my face man.

I didn’t do nothing serious man.

Please. Please. Please. I can’t breathe.

Please man. Please somebody. Please man.

I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe please.

Man I can’t breathe. My face.

Just get up.

I can’t breathe. Please.

I can’t breathe shit.

I will.

I can’t move.

Mama. Mama.

I can’t. My knee. My nuts.

I’m through. I’m through.

I’m claustrophobic. My stomach hurts.

My neck hurts. Everything hurts.

Some water or something. Please. Please.

I can’t breathe officer. Don’t kill me.

They gonna kill me man, come on man.

I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.

They gonna kill me. They gonna kill me.

I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

Please Sir. Please Sir.

Please I can’t breathe!”

George Floyd’s dying words at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin

Cry for his pain when you read them.
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Delivering sustainable cuts to global military spending

Delivering sustainable cuts to global military spending

The Five Percent Campaign’s website is now here. Please visit the dedicated website for latest updates.

The 5% Campaign

Divert. Transform. Sustain

A campaign for civil society north and south

  • An international campaign to deliver deep sustainable cuts to excessive global military spending in order to redirect savings to global wants and needs.
  • Via a feasible two-stage ‘5%’ formula applicable by civil society across the globe
  • Delivering a new ‘structural’ campaign to expose the winners & losers in the global military spending relationship: governments & defence industries; citizens & environment.

The primary task of the Five Percent campaign proposal is to get runaway military spending taken up as a ‘structural campaign issue’ by UK international development NGOs, working alongside partners in the global south and North America. We argue that excessive military spending is a global development issue and that current (and increasing) levels of military spending – especially on the global scale-  has been ignored for far too long.

The Five Percent proposal offers a ‘road-map’ for civil society around the world to demand cuts to excessive military spending and to take up the international solidarity campaign call – ‘Don’t Buy Don’t Sell’.  We are fast approaching $2trillion p/a on global military spending. This is without the ‘costs’ of actual war (ie veterans, environmental and infrastructure costs etc). It is doubly scandalous at times of austerity that nations are increasing military budgets while public services are being cut.

Our proposal argues that we need to place excessive global military spending alongside other established international development  ‘structural’ campaigns in order to divert taxpayers money to better use, whether that be international ‘development’ focused or in support of the global green economy, and, as a result of a more intense spotlight on it, become more widely integrated into civil society dialogue and activism.

By joining the ranks of debt cancellation and tax justice, military spending savings could be regarded as yet one more significant ‘new’ revenue stream, redirecting the funds captured to serving the needs of the global community. Inevitably, increased debate around what we mean by ‘defence’ and, central to this, the question of whose interests are really served by the ever increasing global military expenditure, would be at the heart of this effort.

Ultimately, this brings us back to the fundamental need to see military spending as every bit as central to understanding  power, poverty,  economic collapse, unjust distribution of resources as other structural campaigns like debttradetax, climate change and most recently the so-called ‘war on drugs’.  It is not an adjunct to any of these issues – it is implicated in each and every one of them.

As leading activist and author of Shadow World Andrew Feinstein has said, ‘neoliberalism needs the war machine’. And as we see ever greater movement of peoples due to conflict and climate change, this is doubly true as the movement of peoples creates an opportunity for an even greater military ‘security’ presence.

THE 5% FORMULA: WHAT IS IT?

The 5% Formula is a TWO-PART mechanism to achieve major, year-on-year cuts to global military spending over 10 years and beyond. It is a long-term, sustainable campaign, with a top-line demand that works for civil society groups in every country where there is a perceived value in challenging policies concerning military spending.

The first decade calls on the top 20 spenders (who account for 87% of $1.7 trillion world spending) to cut their military spending by 5% each year for decade.  This would see annual global military spending cut by 40% after the first decade, back to mid 1990s spending levels ie $1 trillion dollars, the lowest in recent history (‘lowest’ still being far too high). This would deliver an estimated $700 billion to be redirected to core urgent human and environmental needs.

After the first 10 years, we call upon all nations to adopt the 5% threshold rule to sustainably restrain the global military spending – no country allows any increase in military spending to outstrip economic growth. Most economies grow less than 3% annually; this effectively translates as 2% annual reduction to their military spending.

For example:

 0% economic growth = 5% cut to annual military spend

2% growth = 3% cut to annual military spend

5% growth = no increase

7% growth = only 2% increase on annual military spend.

GLOBAL MILITARY SPENDING MUST BE CHALLENGED, REDUCED AND REDIRECTED BECAUSE:

  • The ‘business’ of the defence industry does not advance or respect notions of ‘sensible defence’ spending when so much profit is to be gained from contracts and/or war. Its close relationship with governments around the world is central to this.
  • Double standards. Approximately 70% of arms sales are made by the permanent five nations of the UN Security Council charged with keeping the peace of the world (USA, France, UK, Russia, China) – and the majority of those arms sales go to the global south.
  • This has consequences for development across the global south. It is reflected in the carnage of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other developing nations where profits are made from conflict while societies are destroyed. Selling arms with one hand and delivering aid with the other, is governmental hypocrisy
  • $2 trillion p/a on military while SDGS struggle to be funded is unacceptable. Moreover, increased inequality undermines local, national and international security.Poverty can drive conflict. Over 900 million people in the world are hungry;  40% of people in the world live on less than US$2 per day
  • Climate change. Oil is a driver for conflict in many parts of the world and is linked to increased military spending; climate change induced conflict is a development issue (ie water wars) as is the increasing role of military planning linked to climate refugee flows from global south to north.
  • Nuclear weapons are often misguidedly overlooked by wider civil society yet they comprise a huge element of military spending; are the ultimate un-useable lethal weapon sucking money from domestic needs; and they are also increasingly are part of the developing world agenda.

All these factors conspire to escalate military spending and crucially undermine international development goals. UK int’l development NGOs and partners in the global south can play a leading role in driving a ground-breaking campaign to:

  • expose and reduce the malign power and influence of the defence industry over governments and society, in the global north and global south so as to:
  • reduce military spending and divert savings into a transformative funding stream delivering social justice and meaningful investment in conflict prevention and peacekeeping
  • reduce military spending and divert savings to deliver a sustainable, non-fossil fuel, green economy that addresses the many dimensions of climate (in)justice.

MILITARY SPENDING IS A DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

This proposal stands on the shoulders of those in the peace movement who have long campaigned on the war-spending/arms trade issues, but it is an area that the major players in the development sector have not sought to take on in the same way with the same courage. Moreover, as ‘development’ is interlinked with climate change and the military has a major (albeit relatively unknown) role in climate change, this proposal also speaks to everyone concerned with climate change.

As we head towards the $2 trillion p/a global military spend red-line, we should all be deeply concerned, for many reasons.  A far greater civil society effort is needed to place military spending in the spotlight as we enter yet more uncertain times.

We Are Many movie

This campaign proposal is part of our ongoing commitment to this issue. Tipping Point Film Fund has been a lead partner on the feature-length documentary We Are Many directed by Amir Amirani and released in 2015, with a second wave release to mark the Chilcot Report in 2016.  We Are Many explores the untold legacy of the global anti-war movement mobilized at the time of the Iraq invasion; is about the power of people coming together and the consequences of excessive war/military spending on us, the 99%. It  includes interviews with more than 50 leading activists from across the world.

Download this brief introduction (pdf).

More

Read Full Report: The Five Percent Campaign (pdf also available) and/or the Executive Summary (pdf also available)

Sharing some more links – film event; Palestine COVID appeal; our future work

Sharing some more links – film event; Palestine COVID appeal; our future work

Dear friends and supporters,

A brief mini-update below on some of the issues we continue to work on with a few links we hope may be of interest.

WE ARE MANY FILM April 8th 

 

We’re excited to share news about Stop the War’s Mass Viewing of We Are Many and Q&A with director Amir Amirani on Wednesday 8 April.Stop the War are giving 5 days to try and watch this acclaimed film about the global anti-Iraq war movement, after which they will host a Q&A with Amir and two special guests, via Zoom.

You can watch the film here:
iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/movie/we-are-many/id1118498978
Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/We-Are-Many-Damon-Albarn/dp/B01IFW0WX4

Other outlets are also available and if you’ve seen it before or would just like to tune in anyway you can join in on Zoom from 7pm on April 8th. Register here
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Zv-2463wSxCd77PZ1juvzw
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In times of Coronavirus: UBI is an idea whose time has finally come

In times of Coronavirus: UBI is an idea whose time has finally come

The solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income. … We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished.

Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (1968)

We hope this email finds you, and all those you care for, safe and well.

Many of us also have family, friends and colleagues in many different parts of the world and, coupled with the ever rising number of cases here in the UK/Europe/USA, the news about the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the global south, for many of us, will be even more worrying.

It is becoming more apparent with every passing day that the Coronavirus pandemic is holding a mirror up to every single aspect of human life and activity and that this scrutiny leaves much of humanity’s 21st century day to day behaviour sorely wanting. The ultimate damning evidence of this is the millions upon millions of our fellow sisters and brothers in the global south who don’t even have access to the basic protective shield of soap and water as this pandemic rages across the globe.

It’s not as if we didn’t know the system was long broken. We did. The evidence has been piling up for years and years. However, global inequality and the unstoppable ascendency of the tax evading greedy 1%; the harm of agribusiness and factory farming at one end and illegal poaching at the other; big pharma’s monopolies and the erosion of the primacy of publicly funded healthcare and research; and finally, ultimately, climate catastrophe; none of this was enough to force the hands of the political class, financial and corporate sectors to change course and ‘do the right thing’.
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Green New Deal Plus

Green New Deal Plus

MILITARY SPENDING: A HIDDEN DRIVER OF CLIMATE CHANGE

The global military is a major driver of climate change. It is exempt from reporting its carbon emissions despite some countries’ militaries being among the largest consumers of fossil fuels in the world. It is a scandal that needs exposing.

Runaway global military spending fuels this state of affairs and impedes development in myriad ways: as a matter of urgency it must be put centre-stage as an international development, environment and human security concern.

Moreover, all current Green New Deal economic thinking (in the UK, Europe, the USA and elsewhere) must take account of the links between these two very closely linked issues: military spending and climate change.


Green New Deal Plus and the Five Percent Proposal

Two new and inter-related proposals that connect global military spending and Green New Deal thinking.

Green New Deal Plus (GND Plus) is a five-point plan that gives shape to an essential, additional dimension to all existing Green New Deal discussions and plans – that of not just green prosperity, but peaceful green prosperity.

Green New Deal Plus argues that we cannot exempt the world’s militaries from all current and future plans for Green New Deals, wherever they may be advocated. We cannot ask major areas of economic activity (energy, mining, construction, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, commercial businesses and residential housing) to go green, cut greenhouse gas emissions and play their part in getting nations and the planet to net zero by 2050 (IPCC, 2018)[1] while conveniently permitting some of the world’s worst emissions offenders to carry on their carbon-intensive business as normal.

It is therefore, inevitably, an urgent –if challenging– call to rebalance the relationship between governments & defence industries on one hand and citizens, economy & environment on the other

The Five Percent Proposal offers a practical roadmap to progressively cut runaway global military spending, cut greenhouse gas emissions and fund human security, international development and the global green economy needs. It can be an integral part of any GND Plus thinking.

The Five Percent Proposal and Green New Deal Plus are intended for NGOs working in international development and/or environment and/or human rights and/or peace; also for national and international organizations and political leaders developing various types of GND policies.

The Five Percent series of reports and briefings on runaway global military spending are listed below. The Green New Deal Plus concept came about as a result of our Five Percent report Indefensible: The true cost of the global military on climate change and human security

  1. A Brief Introduction to Green New Deal Plus
  2. The Five Percent Campaign FULL REPORT (2013)
  3. Why Runaway Global Military Spending Is An International Development Issue
  4. Indefensible: The true cost of the global military on climate change and human security (to be co-published with Christian Aid November 2019)
  5. Through the Looking Glass: BAE Systems, Corporate Social Responsibility and war, insecurity and climate change
  6. Weapons, Walls and Oppression: The EU/UK/Israel Military Relationship
  7. Approaching the $2 trillion redline
  8. The $1 trillion yellow line that we need to return to
  9. Solidarity Campaigning: Don’t Buy Don’t Sell UK – Saudi Arabia
  10. Solidarity Campaigning : Don’t Buy Don’t Sell Germany – Turkey
  11. Hearts and minds: the military, movies & gaming
  12. Climate Change & EU Foreign, Security And Defence Policy

Current Green New Deal Thinking

Across the UK/Europe and USA there is a growing call for a ‘Green New Deal’, taking the term from President Roosevelt’s successful 1930s New Deal where investment in public works was key to reinvigorating the USA economy during the Great Depression. It was a concept revisited with the New Economics Foundation’s ‘Green New Deal’ in 2008[2] and the later formation of the Green New Deal Group[3]. Today, a Green New Deal is a central plank in the Democratic Party’s election offer to the American people; here in the UK it is coming to the fore of both Labour Party and Green Party policy-thinking and there is also now a call for a progressive EU-wide Green New Deal.

The 21st century Green New Deal comprises primarily a set of government funded social and economic reforms and public work projects with renewable energy, resource efficiency and decarbonisation at its heart, and deliverable through a massive programme of investment in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure.

As time rapidly runs out for humanity to raise its collective game on addressing global warming and climate change, the long overlooked ‘war economy’ & runaway global military spending must now be part of the equation.

Notably absent in present day Green New Deal thinking is an awareness about the role of the world’s militaries and their significant (and profoundly under-reported) contribution to climate change. All forms and versions of current Green New Deal policy-making could be extended further by addressing runaway military spending. An ambitious strategy to address it would ensure all Green New Deal thinking is not missing this vital element.

What is Green New Deal Plus?

Green New Deal Plus comes at time of climate breakdown, global inequality and the rising extreme right. It is an urgent call to rebalance the relationship between governments & defence industries on one hand and citizens, economy & environment on the other.

Through its Five Percent Proposal, Tipping Point North South (https://tippingpointnorthsouth.org/) has been building the case that global runaway spending is of profound relevance to international development and, increasingly, mitigation of climate catastrophe. It argues that runaway military spending should therefore be of much more serious concern than at present to those working in these sectors, both NGOs and politicians alike, and advocates that they make a much greater effort to engage with it.

Green New Deal Plus argues that we cannot exempt the world’s militaries from all current and future plans for Green New Deals, wherever they may be advocated.

The military-oil industry relationship is intertwined and interlinked with climate change.  We must quantify, expose and act upon the climate burden put upon people and planet by the world’s big military spenders.

Until now, we have collectively and consistently ignored the massive yet unaccounted for responsibility of the world’s militaries to climate change, from their day-to-day operational activities to the wars and conflicts of which they are part. We must start to factor both into climate calculations because we have been ignoring them at our peril.

We cannot ask major areas of economic activity (energy, mining, construction, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, commercial businesses and residential housing) to go green, cut greenhouse gas emissions and play their part in getting nations and the planet to net zero by 2050 at the latest while conveniently permitting some of the world’s worst emissions offenders to carry on their carbon-intensive business as normal.

While this may raise serious issues about the nature of our global defence systems and security thinking,  this is no more or less a challenge than those required of transforming our production and consumption of energy, food, water and other natural resources and our infrastructure and usage of transport fit for a green future. Indeed, aside from nuclear war (by accident or design) there is no greater threat to human survival than man-made climate change. We are in a global emergency, we need paradigm-shifting thinking on every aspect of human activity and every culpable sector must not only play its part in massive reduction of carbon emissions, but also in redefining new ways of being in this new carbon-neutral era.

Green New Deal Plus therefore believes that addressing the role of the world’s militaries in reducing climate change will bring an essential dimension to all current GND economic thinking: that of peaceful green prosperity. Why exclude carbon culprits such as defence contractors and national militaries from GND thinking that is otherwise intending to deliver economic, social and environmental justice?

Green New Deal Plus is designed to complement any and all variations on current Green New Deal policies, in the UK and internationally as well as offer up an international development and environment framing for runway military spending.


Key Stats:

Carbon emissions of F35 fighter jet per mission (28 Tonnes CO2e) = One person’s emissions (living in the West) over 2 years

USA military and defence industry combined carbon footprint: 339m tonnes CO2e. (6% of national total emissions)

If the Pentagon (which oversees the US military) was a country, it would the world’s 55th largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, more than industrialised countries such as Sweden and Portugal.

US defence industry emissions for 2017 = 280m tonnes CO2e, higher than Egypt

UK military and defence industry combined carbon footprint: 13m tonnes CO2e. (3% of national total emissions)

Global carbon footprint estimate of the military-industrial complex (i.e. global militaries and defence industries) = around 5%

This is higher than carbon emissions from global Civil Aviation = 3%

Transport (including cars, trucks, airplanes, ships and other vehicles) account for 25% of global carbon emissions

Agriculture = 10%

In other words, the global military-industrial complex carbon footprint is one half  and one fifth respectively of the global emissions from the everyday activities of food production and transport.


(Slides from a presentation by Dr Stuart Parkinson of Scientists for Global Responsibility)

References:

https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/papers/ClimateChangeandCostofWar
https://www.sgr.org.uk/resources/carbon-boot-print-military
https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/aviation_en
https://www.iea.org/statistics/co2emissions/
https://www.agrighg-2018.org/
https://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/a-tale-of-two-puzzles-accounting-for-military-and-climate-change-expenditures

What Would a Green New Deal Plus Want to Achieve?

The five points below are a guide to how we can realise the potential benefits to any and all current GND plans that see the important of the GND Plus concept.

  1. The break-up of the military-oil industry relationship and complete decarbonising of the world’s militaries
    • The world’s militaries are the biggest institutional users of oil in the world and are therefore a major driver for climate change, both in terms of day-to-day operations as well as wars, many of which are conducted for oil. Runaway global military spending enables all this. A carbon-neutral world demands we fully decarbonise our militaries.
    • Green New Deal Plus applauds the ongoing efforts by all those advocating the diversification of the defence and security industries – they must also decarbonise so that they are fit for the green new world.

A decarbonised military, defence and security sector is not about delivering ‘greener ways to conduct war’: weaponry and war will always kill living beings, will always destroy and pollute environments. Rather, this idea is the starting point for much needed if challenging discussion, one that can lead us to a paradigm shift in national and international defence and security policy-making for a carbon-neutral world.

  1. Open up debate: What kind of ‘defence’ policy is fit for the 21st century- and beyond?

Green New Deal Plus calls for a decarbonised sustainable global military with a transformed and transformative doctrine fit for purpose in this century of climate breakdown – one based on revisiting and updating earlier work on the concept of non-offensive defence[4] and prioritising global human security through social, economic and environmental justice. Primarily, national self-interest should be replaced with global human security. Much greater investment in conflict prevention and international peacekeeping will reap significant reward[5] – it is cheap in comparison to arms-race spending between countries, driven by self-interests, profits and domination and we need much greater investment for on the ground, local peace-building. As for security threats, we need the definitions to go much wider – we need far greater investment in early warning and disaster risk reduction, as well as post disaster reconstruction.

    • Linked to this, we need a transformation on the UN Security Council, notably the well past its sell by date current P5 arrangement. The UN P5+1 nations[6] charged with keeping the world’s peace account for 80% arms sales, the majority of which to the developing world.[7] Many developing countries spend more on defence than either education or health and often buy from developed nations.
    • Climate change is a social, economic and environmental issue but it is currently a pretext for some governments to expand their military/security reach. Refugees fleeing their homes because of climate change should be free to move if they must and then welcomed by other nations – not left to drown in the seas and oceans.
  1. Implementation of The Five Percent Formula to progressively cut runaway global military spending (and emissions) in order to fund human security; international development and climate change impact; global green economy needs.

Tipping Point North South’s Five Percent Proposal makes the case that runaway military spending is a long overdue international development issue.[8] We need to implement an ambitious, fair, practical formula that can start to pull back the scandalous sums spent individually and collectively on global military spending; to redirect those savings to urgent human need and long term development; this in addition to funds to clean up our shamefully polluted planet; and to properly fund peacekeeping and peace-building.

As we creep ever closer to a $2 trillion ‘redline’ of global annual military spending, we are about to enter another arms spending race.[9] Should governments and multi-lateral agencies adopt the two-part Five Percent Formula, global military spending would be gradually and decisively decreased, halving over 10 years, followed by a 5% threshold formula designed to rein military spending back thereafter.

This would open up $700 billion funding over the first decade and can be allocated to address:

    • International: immediate and urgent poverty reduction; sustainable development reflecting civil society activism on climate & economic justice; peace/conflict prevention & human rights; investing in the global green economy.
    • Domestic: counteracting effects of austerity on public services; investing in clean, green jobs.

NOTE: These savings can offer smarter ways of spending finite resources (also helping reduce root causes of conflict and violence) and can be applied to developing new ideas such as funding universal basic (health and education) services or help developing countries to set up universal basic income to eliminate extreme poverty. Free (or affordable) public services and cash-based programmes are superior to aid-based programmes for development.

  1. Encourage international country to country solidarity campaigning across development, human rights & peace movements : Don’t Buy Don’t Sell

“Out of a global population of 7.4bn, two billion people live in countries where development outcomes are affected by fragility, conflict, and violence. By 2030, at least half of the world’s poor people will be living in fragile and conflict-affected settings. Conflicts drive 80% of all humanitarian needs.” (The World Bank)[10] The arms trade fuels conflict and enables the oppression of civilians by states and when linked to government contracts, it means sales of everything from bullets and weapons to tanks and planes. The suffering of Yemenis is a result of UK government and others arming Saudi Arabia.

For bi-lateral arms deals that harm the public good we say don’t buy, don’t sell.[11],[12]

Moreover, many developing countries spend more on defence than either education or health and often buy from developed nations – the UN P5+1 members account for 80% of global arms sales, the majority of which to the developing world. At the same time, there is ample evidence that indicates defence spending impedes development whereas education and health spending has significant multiplying effect on raising living standard (across economies, developed and developing). Don’t buy, don’t sell.

  1. Transformation of the relationship between government departments

We need (i) international development to become global social justice; (ii) foreign policy-making to be ethical and (iii) a progressive defence & security policy-making that leads on fresh thinking on how taxes directed to military spending should reflect a different type of security policy-making that delivers equity, human security, green jobs and minimisation and mitigation of climate breakdown.

In the UK for example, contrary to the current Conservative Party calls to shift money from the development budget to the MOD, the UK – indeed all nations who follow this call – may have a far better security outcome if policies supporting international social justice secured more funding, not less.

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Historically, military spending has been central to re-enforcing power, poverty, unjust distribution of resources, economic and environmental collapse. The Green New Deal Plus argues that unless or until we place military spending in the Green New Deal ‘frame’, the economic, social and environmental GND gains will only ever be partial. Surely we need peace to accompany – indeed enable – green prosperity.

And the longstanding destructive role of western militaries is matched by the historic harm caused by those same nations’ corporate interests across the global south, notably through the extraction of resources. These commercial interests have been and remain a major cause of instability and armed conflict while developed nations grew rich on those resources. Today, although climate change is a global social, economic and environmental issue, history must not repeat itself. The solutions for climate change cannot be with the sacrifice of those same nations and peoples – the developed world must not adapt to the reality of climate breakdown at the expense of the poor.[13] Moreover, it must not become an excuse for the global north to further militarise and exploit the global south.

Peace and green prosperity will remain elusive as long as the military-oil industry relationship remains intact and all powerful. We need a very different starting point to consider and address the annual almost $2trillion global military spend and it should be global human security. Only if we can lay that as the foundation stone, can the human family create and sustain peaceful prosperity in a green economy working in harmony with the natural world.

References

[1] The Guardian view of UK’s climate responsibility: zero emission target needed, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/26/the-guardian-view-of-uks-climate-responsibility-zero-emission-target-needed

[2] A Green New Deal, New Economics Foundation, 2008. https://neweconomics.org/2008/07/green-new-deal

[3] 2013 Press Release, The Green New Deal Group. http://www.greennewdealgroup.org/?page_id=200

[4] Non-offensive defence for the twenty-first century, edited by Bjørn Møller and Håkan Wiberg, 1994. https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/2855683

[5] Evaluating the Conflict-Reducing Effect of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Håvard Hegre, Lisa Hultman and Håvard Mokleiv Nygård, 2018. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/700203

[6] Permanent members of the security council, USA, Russia, China, UK, France, plus Germany

[7] Trends In International Arms Transfers, SIPRI, 2017. https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2018-03/fssipri_at2017_0.pdf

[8] https://thefivepercentcampaign.org/the-five-percent-campaign/military-spend-is-a-development-issue/

[9] The $2 Trillion Redline, The Five Percent Campaign. https://tippingpointnorthsouth.org/2016/01/25/the-2-trillion-redline/

[10] Helping Countries Navigate a Volatile Environment, World Bank, 2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20190509170355/https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/fragilityconflictviolence/overview

[11] Don’t Buy Don’t Sell: Germany – Turkey, The Five Percent Campaign. https://thefivepercentcampaign.org/2018/04/26/dont-buy-dont-sell-germany-turkey/

[12] Don’t Buy Don’t Sell: UK – Saudi Arabia, The Five Percent Campaign. https://thefivepercentcampaign.org/articles/

[13] The ‘green new deal’ supported by Ocasio-Cortez and Corbyn is just a new form of colonialism, Asad Rehman, 2019. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/green-new-deal-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-corbyn-colonialism-climate-change-a8899876.html

 

 

 

Autumn – Winter Newsletter : Politics, Campaigns, Films…

Autumn – Winter Newsletter : Politics, Campaigns, Films…

Dear friends, supporters and colleagues,

It seems too much to hope that a General Election might actually bring a positive and progressive resolution to past three wasted years on Brexit – but hope we must.

Over the past couple of years we have periodically mounted events with a focus on the contemporary relevance of Clement Attlee and for one reason: Attlee is an object lesson in applying political will for the greater good, no matter how great your detractors – and he had many, both internally in the Labour Party and externally, notably the hostile right wing press.

Attlee was a shy (stammering in fact) man, slight in stature, considered by many too weak to lead devastated post-war Britain. So much for the criticisms – he proved a transformational leader, on his own terms.

He set the ‘terms of reference’ for progressive domestic policy for the next 70 years. How do we ensure that the next 70 years are just as ambitious and therefore effective at pushing back those economic interests intent on trashing this precious legacy? How do we prize and protect the notion of ‘generosity to the future’ so powerfully embodied in the Attlee administration? Attlee’s story and his political journey is as relevant now as it ever was.
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