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Protecting the future… from climate and conflict
What are our priorities? Where do we spend our money?
The climate emergency threatens our future and requires a change in the way we understand security and view priorities. For many people around the world their current security and way of life is damaged or destroyed by the effects of conflict. Pressures from climate change will heighten the risk of conflict. There is an absolute need to move away from the concepts of ‘Defence and Security’ which prioritise militarism and the international arms trade.
So how does spending on the military and on mitigating climate risk compare in the UK and the wider world community?
• Current UK Government annual military / defence expenditure is £41 billion. For climate change £3 billion.
• In November 2020 an extra four year investment was announced: £24 billion for the military; £11 billion for a ‘green industrial revolution’
• Annual research and development funding (2018) is £1.7 billion for the military; £100 million for renewable energy
This pattern is repeated worldwide. The American F35 fighter jet built partly in USA and partly in Britain is the most expensive ever military project. Its annual cost averaged over a possible life span of 50 years is ten times the total annual spend on UN Peacekeeping. It is estimated that spending on the F35 is half of what would be needed worldwide to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The most dangerous military spending is on nuclear weapons, which pose an additional present and future threat. The UK government currently spends approximately as much on Trident as on climate change mitigation. The planned Trident replacement will cost £205 billion over coming years. And rather than working for a nuclear ban there is now to be an increase in the UK stockpile of nuclear warheads.
Scottish Peace Network is one of many Scottish and UK groups campaigning for a change in priorities when we are faced with the climate emergency. We support plans for a green industrial revolution. To further this we call for a 50% reduction in the military budget and for continued work on diversification of defence industry expertise to these new engineering and construction challenges.
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© Scottish Peace Network