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Defense and Security Companies Are Planning to Cash in on Climate Change and Environmental Collapse

Increasing importance is attached to ‘food security,’ ‘energy security’ and ‘water security’ with little analysis of exactly what is being secured for whom, and at whose expense?

Photo Credit: © Galushko Sergey/ Shutterstock.com


This article was published in partnership with  GlobalPossibilities.org.

The world's political leaders couldn't say they hadn't been warned. In the run up to the UN climate negotiations in early December in Qatar, it wasn't just the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, global accounting firm PWC predicting dangerous levels of climate change. Even nature appeared to sound alarm bells with unseasonal hurricanes devastating New York and islands in the Caribbean and the Philippines. Faced with this chorus, you might have expected a response from the world's governments. Instead the UN summit passed almost unnoticed by the international media and the result was another empty declaration, described by Friends of the Earth as a “sham of a deal” that “fails on every count.”

Confronted with one of the greatest challenges our planet and its peoples have faced, our political leaders have clearly failed us. In stark contrast to the radical coordinated action to bail out banks and prop-up the financial system, governments have instead chosen to step aside, giving a free hand to the markets and the fossil fuel giants, rather than daring a carefully planned conversion of our carbon-based economies. Their choice is not one of inaction, as is often suggested, but one of actively ensuring dangerous climate change. For every coal plant built in China, oil field mined in the Arctic, or shale gas field fracked in the US locks in carbon into the atmosphere for up to 1000 years and means that even radical steps to decarbonise in future years may not be sufficient to prevent runaway global warming.

The President of the World Bank, Dr Jim Yong Kim said their report's predicted rise in temperatures of 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit before the end of the century would create a world that was “ very frightening.” For the first time, the issue of how to pay for the 'loss and damage' that climate change is already causing for the poorest and most vulnerable people worldwide took centre stage at Doha. It is a tragic irony that discussions about stopping or preparing for global climate change (known as mitigation and adaptation in UN language) have now been upstaged by demands for reparations and growing concern, not least in the insurance industry, about who or what is going to pay for the damage inflicted by climate change.

These narratives are deeply distressing and dis-empowering. It is now much easier for people to imagine a dystopian future for their children than a world that has pulled together to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Far from prompting mass action, fear and insecurity is apparently prompting people to turn off and tune out in droves, or to seek solace in conspiracy theories.

This apathy is being exploited by those who welcome – or at the very least are looking to profit from – the politics of insecurity and what the Pentagon has dubbed “the age of consequences.” Across the world and often behind closed doors, securocrats and military strategists are engaging in ‘foresight’ exercises that – unlike their political masters – take climate change for granted and develop options and strategies to adapt to the risks and opportunities it presents. Only a month before the Doha climate negotiations, the US National Academy of Sciences released a report commissioned by the CIA that sought to “evaluate the evidence on possible connections between climate change and U.S. national security concerns.” The study concluded that it would be “prudent for security analysts to expect climate surprises in the coming decade, including unexpected and potentially disruptive single events as well as conjunctions of events occurring simultaneously or in sequence, and for them to become progressively more serious and more frequent thereafter, most likely at an accelerating rate.”

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