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
Continue reading

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’.
Continue reading

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.

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

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

 

 

 

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.

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

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

 

 

 

We Are Many

We Are Many

Amir Amirani’s film We Are Many was in the research and making for more than nine years. Addressing the illegality of the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent undermining of democratic processes, it sets alongside the power of public protest and mass mobilisations of the anti-Iraq war movement – a movement that was to inspire the Egyptian uprising of 2011; a movement of more than 15 million people, in 800 cities, in 70 countries who marched to protest the imminent invasion of Iraq; a movement which shaped a generation.

Tipping Point Film Fund was the film’s first funder in late 2010 and was an executive producing partner throughout. It was a lead partner on a Kick-starter campaign that raised $92k for the production costs and worked with Amir across fundraising, production, editing, and release in UK cinemas in 2016, as well as the film’s outreach on related peace issues.  Find out more here.

WE ARE MANY is available on iTunes and Google Play.

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£280bn Global Arms Sales in 2016

Global sales of weapons and military services have risen for the first time in five years, helped in part by an increase in sales by British companies.

Weapons – many of which are fuelling deadly conflicts in the Middle East – are now being bought and sold at the highest level since 2010, with sales up more than a third (38 per cent) since 2002.

Military kit worth $374.8bn (£280bn) was sold in 2016 by the industry’s top 100 companies, an annual review by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) found.

The findings came as UK firm BAE Systems signed a $6.7bn deal with Qatar to buy 24 Typhoon fighter jets.

British arms sales rose 2 per cent last year and now amount to almost 10 per cent of global sales, researchers found.

Germany’s arms sales jumped 6.6 per cent while South Korean companies notched up 20 per cent more sales than a year earlier. …

Sales by Lockheed Martin – the world’s largest arms producer – rose by 10.7 per cent in 2016, the report found, linked to the sale of F-35 combat aircraft. Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn’s Geneva speech in full

Speaking at the United Nation’s Geneva headquarters today, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

Thank you Paul for that introduction. And let me give a special thanks to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Your work gives an important platform to marginalised voices for social justice to challenge policy makers and campaign for change.

I welcome pressure both on my party the British Labour Party and on my leadership to put social justice front and centre stage in everything we do. So thank you for inviting me to speak here in this historic setting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva a city that has been a place of refuge and philosophy since the time of Rousseau. The headquarters before the Second World War of the ill-fated League of Nations, which now houses the United Nations.

It’s a particular privilege to be speaking here because the constitution of our party includes a commitment to support the United Nations. A promise “to secure peace, freedom, democracy, economic security and environmental protection for all”.

I’d also like to thank my fellow panellists, Arancha Gonzalez and Nikhil Seth, and Labour’s Shadow Attorney General, Shami Chakrabarti, who has accompanied me here. She has been a remarkable campaigner and a great asset to the international movement for human rights.

And lastly let me thank you all for being here today.

I would like to use this opportunity in the run- up to International Human Rights Day to focus on the greatest threats to our common humanity. And why states need to throw their weight behind genuine international co-operation and human rights both individual and collective, social and economic, as well as legal and constitutional at home and abroad if we are to meet and overcome those threats.
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New report on securitisation of aid

  • Syria case may be ‘tip of the iceberg’ for fund backing some of world’s worst security forces
  • Secretive Conflict, Stability and Security Fund uses £500m of aid money
  • Government accused of using loophole to fund discredited consultancy

The controversial cross-government fund behind the British aid project in Syria which has today been suspended amid claims that money was reaching jihadist groups should be shut down, according to campaign group Global Justice Now, which has released a new report on the fund.

The report lifts the lid on one of the British government’s most secretive funds, which is behind military and security projects in around 70 countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Iraq and Nigeria. The billion-pound pot, known as the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, spends over £500 million of British aid and is overseen by the National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister. Neither the public nor MPs are able to properly scrutinise the fund due to a serious lack of transparency, the report finds.
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Interactive Map: European weapons and Refugees

Valuable resource from Centre Delàs:

Interactive map « European weapons and refugees »

The purpose of this interactive map is to highlight the link between European arms export and flows of refugees and internally displaced persons, in order to determine whether there is any direct or indirect responsibility of EU Member States for situations of insecurity and violence that drive millions of people to flee their homes every year.

A second objective of this tool is to stress their (ir)responsibility in European arms export authorization or realization as well as their inadequate compliance of the existing legislation, established by the Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of December 8, 2008, which sets up 22 weapons categories including ammunition, light weapons, aircraft and warships, military transport vehicles and all types of military technology for military purposes. On the basis of the criteria set out in the Common Position, the relationship between the European legislation on arms export and situations of insecurity leading to movements of refugees and displaced persons can be established.

http://www.centredelas.org/en/database/arms-trade/interactive-map-arms-trade-and-refugees

More than 100 F-35s in service can’t fight

The U.S. military has signaled that it might cancel essential upgrades for more than 100 early model F-35 stealth fighters flown by the Air Force, rendering the radar-evading jets incompatible with many of the latest weapons.

In that case, some 6 percent of the flying branch’s planned 1,700-strong F-35 fleet would be unfit for combat, sticking U.S. taxpayers with a $20 billion tab for fighters… that can’t fight. Continue reading

The Pentagon’s use of private contractors adds to a legacy of environmental damage

The military is one of the country’s largest polluters, with an inventory of toxic sites on American soil that once topped 39,000. At many locations, the Pentagon has relied on contractors like U.S. Technology to assist in cleaning and restoring land, removing waste, clearing unexploded bombs, and decontaminating buildings, streams and soil. In addition to its work for Barksdale, U.S. Technology had won some 830 contracts with other military facilities — Army, Air Force, Navy and logistics bases — totaling more than $49 million, many of them to dispose of similar powders. Continue reading

UK arms firms pay little tax in Saudi arms sale

The report, released by children’s charity War Child, claims that corporations, including BAE systems and Raytheon, have made an estimated $775m in profit on $8bn worth of revenue by selling arms to Saudi Arabia between March 2015 and the end of 2016.

Yet corporation tax receipts since the war in Yemen began stands at just $40m, something the NGO describes as “pitiful”.
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Israel arms Myanmar military amid crackdown on Rohingya

Israel has continued to sell arms to Myanmar, despite international condemnation of the country’s crackdown on its Rohingya Muslim minority. …

The armaments sold to Myanmar include over 100 tanks, weapons and boats that have been used to police the country’s border and perpetrate numerous acts of violence against the Rohingya, such that the UN suspects the army is committing ethnic cleansing. Continue reading

Wonder Woman and the Military-Industrial Complex

In short, this is straight-up propaganda for the military-industrial complex. It would have looked and sounded identical had it been scripted by a joint team from the Pentagon and the Israel Defense Forces.

My reticence to review the film has lifted after reading the latest investigations of Tom Secker and Matthew Alford into the manifold ways the U.S. military and security services interfere in Hollywood, based on a release of 4,000 pages of documents under Freedom of Information requests.

In their new book “National Security Cinema,” the pair argue that the Pentagon, CIA and National Security Agency have meddled in the production of at least 800 major Hollywood movies and 1,000 TV titles. That is likely to be only the tip of the iceberg, as they concede:

“It is impossible to know exactly how widespread this military censorship of entertainment is because many files are still being withheld.” Continue reading

Military tourism in Israel

It was only a matter of time before local entrepreneurs figured out they could channel Israel’s vast experience in war and counterterrorism in this direction. Today, about half a dozen facilities around the country offer tourists the opportunity to learn from Israeli combat officers, in most cases graduates of elite units. (Understanding that they have nothing to sell the locals because military service is compulsory in Israel, these businesses only target tourists.)

At Caliber 3, the two-hour “shooting adventure” – for which the group from Hong Kong has signed up – includes a simulation of a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem marketplace, immediately followed by a stabbing attack, a live demonstration with attack dogs and a sniper tournament. The cost of this basic package is $115 per adult and $85 per child, with discounts available for large groups. Continue reading

Israel and India arms trade

India is Israel’s top destination for arms exports, buying 41 per cent of export between 2012 and 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an independent global conflict and arms-research institute.

Israel is India’s third-largest source of arms, with a 7.2 per cent share of imports between 2012 and 2016, next to the US (14 per cent) and Russia (68 per cent). Continue reading

‘Ready, aim, smile!’

Police have been accused of glamorising weapons after children as young as seven were pictured brandishing plastic machine guns to take aim at ‘ terrorist targets’ at a mock firing range.

West Midlands Police invited a class of pupils from Kings Norton Primary School, in Birmingham, to visit a firearms training facility for an event entitled ‘Ready, aim, smile!’
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It’s “Call of Duty for real”

This past month, news came of soldiers training with a system called Tactical Augmented Reality.  …

The idea comes from Will Roper, a Rhodes scholar in his late 30s with a PhD in mathematics. Roper runs the Defense Department’s secretive Strategic Capabilities Office; his job is to study where war is headed, and to develop the technological tools that help the United States win there. The military services think about today; DARPA thinks about the distant future; Roper thinks about tomorrow.

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Total world military expenditure rose to $1686 billion in 2016

Military spending in North America saw its first annual increase since 2010, while spending in Western Europe grew for the second consecutive year.

World military expenditure rose for a second consecutive year to a total of $1686 billion in 2016—the first consecutive annual increase since 2011 when spending reached its peak of $1699 billion.* Trends and patterns in military expenditure vary considerably between regions. Spending continued to grow in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe and North Africa. By contrast, spending fell in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East (based on countries for which data is available), South America and sub-Saharan Africa.
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