Arms, security and conflict

The charge

The Climate and Ecological Emergency is a Crime Against Humanity perpetrated by the rich and powerful against the poor and vulnerable.

They have allowed spending on arms to outstrip spending on solutions and they have created a brutal world where many face conflict over ravaged resources.

We charge the world’s most powerful governments with mass manslaughter by gross negligence by allowing climate chaos to create more war. It’s killing us and destroying our lives.

The evidence

The military, itself a huge polluter, is often deployed to sustain the very extractive industries that destabilize our climate. This climate chaos, in turn, leads to massive displacement, militarized borders, and the prospect of further conflict.

Funneling trillions into the military to wage endless wars and project military dominance has prevented us from investing in true security, cooperation and climate solutions.

The fossil fuel industry relies on militarization to uphold its operations around the globe. Oil is the leading cause of war: an estimated one-quarter to one-half of all interstate wars since 1973 have been linked to oil. And all over the world, those who fight to protect their lands from extractive industries are often met with state and paramilitary violence.

Climate chaos will increase the risk of conflict, social instability and fighting over resources. Climate chaos creates conflict while arms companies and their shareholders benefit.

World military spending rose to almost $2 trillion in 2020 (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Yet the world spent less, $501.3 billion in 2020, on renewable power, electric vehicles and other technologies to cut the global energy system’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The result of this colossal spending waste? If the US military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

Britain’s military-industrial sector annually emits more greenhouse gases than 60 individual countries, such as Uganda, which has a population of 45 million people.

Poorer countries suffer a huge injustice in climate and conflict. While western arms companies benefit from more conflict, research shows that conflict-affected countries are disproportionately impacted by climate change because of their limited ability to cope and adapt (2020, the ICRC released When Rain turns to Dust.) Of the 20 countries deemed most vulnerable to climate change, 12 are mired in conflict