COP26 left out the topics and people it needed, argues David Swanson
I’m not sure what we should have expected from a 26th UN climate meeting after 25 previous meetings had generated the opposite of the purportedly intended result. What we got was a festival of greenwashing that included in the meetings more fossil fuel lobbyists than the delegates from any one actual government, and that even included the representatives of a fake airplane company created by the Yes Men pranksters, while people who actually give a damn about the Earth were mostly left to protest in the streets.
The pledges being made are openly insufficient to protect life on the planet, and the reports governments make to uphold their pledges have been radically false anyway.
So, why should I quibble about some particular little interest area being left out of consideration? I shouldn’t. My concern is that an enormous, major contributor to climate destruction is left out, given a general waiver in these agreements, and not counted even in the false reports upholding the insufficient pledges. This major contributor to climate destruction happens to be a major contributor to all variety of environmental devastation, a major diverter of resources away from investment in environmental protection, the primary cause of hostility between governments preventing necessary cooperation on climate, and the one and only cause of the risk of nuclear apocalypse – a risk that has increased parallel to that of ecosystemic collapse even though we only talk about one of the twin risks looming over us.
I’m talking, of course, about militarism. Governments and commentators treat civilian and military greenhouse gas emissions as two separate topics, if the latter is acknowledged at all, despite the fact that we don’t have two separate planets to destroy. A columnist in Haaretz noted what follows from realizing the enormity of the military exclusion from climate talks:
“All of a sudden, it seems really stupid to raise the temperature in our refrigerators, buy small fuel-efficient cars, stop burning wood for heat, stop drying clothes in the dryer, stop farting and stop eating meat, even as we continue rejoicing in flyovers on Independence Day and applauding squadrons of F-35s zooming over Auschwitz.”
Even based on what we do know about military greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. military alone is worse than each of three-quarters of the world’s countries. Imagine if three-quarters of the world’s countries had been completely excluded. Surely someone would have noticed and cared. The exclusive, Northern nature of the conference has in fact been widely condemned despite not coming close to completely barring three-quarters of the nations on Earth.
In the analysis of Neta Crawford of the Costs of War project at Brown University, U.S. military corporations in their manufacture of weapons may emit as much in greenhouse gases as the U.S. military itself. So, the problem may be twice the gargantuan gorilla in the room that almost everyone is ignoring.
Yet, military climate destruction is not an unknowable secret. Journalists asked about it in COP26. Activists rallied around it outside COP26. The simple fact is that the world’s governments – even those with little or no militaries — choose to exclude military destruction from the agreements, because they can.
Thus far 27,000 people and 600 organizations have signed a petition to change this. People can read and sign it at http://cop26.info
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk World Radio.He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and U.S. Peace Prize recipient.
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