COP-Out: The Military and Climate Change/Justice

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1963 ... December 29, 2019

COP-Out: The Military and Climate Change/Justice

Judith Deutsch

The world situation is much worse than generally acknowledged. This December, the coinciding meetings of NATO and of the climate change Conference of the Parties (COP25) were barely reported, much less analyzed, even though the delegates held the fate of humanity in their hands. To some degree, both meetings are secret, and their unelected delegates are not accountable to the public. COP has met far from the ‘maddening crowd’ ever since the large protests at Copenhagen COP15. NATO provides credibility, flexibility, and anonymity in equal doses and shields member states from legal and political accountability. NATO policy is not to reveal which member state participated in a military operation. NATO countries refuse to sign the nuclear ban treaty and now legitimize a nuclear weapons first strike. To judge by the results delegates in both organizations chose to ignore both science and the human situation.

The military is the single largest institutional emitter of greenhouse gases, but its emissions are exempt under the Kyoto Protocol, a convenient... accomplishment negotiated by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Al Gore. In its practice of protecting property and oil installations, in its mandate to kill, and in securitizing borders, the military is also the single largest contributor to climate injustice. The many interconnections between militarization and climate change continue to be overlooked at all COP meetings, by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists, by green new deals, and by climate and anti-war movements. It is hard to understand the silence: anthropogenic climate change and global militarization continue to be driven by political decisions within government and financial institutions. The military’s attribution of violence to victims of climate disasters is used to justify permanent war, militarized borders, global surveillance, and strategies of pacification.

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