“Global efforts to address climate change are already clouded by bitterness and distrust among countries of the world. Now a widening gyre of conflict in the Middle East threatens to fracture an already divided world, raise oil and gas prices at a time of persistently high global inflation, and direct financial resources to the business of fighting wars instead of the business of slowing down climate change.”
-Somini Sengupta and Jim Tankersley, New York Times, “War Imperils Action on Climate Change,” 10/24/23
I’ve believed for 20 years that a silver lining to the worldwide climate crisis is the possibility that when the nations of the world join together to get off fossil fuels and onto a truly clean and renewable energy path, the set of political and economic dynamics making that happen will open up a potential path to a much more just and peaceful world. I continue to believe that is a possibility.
But the world’s nations are NOT joining together right now in a substantive way to get off fossil fuels, with too many of them supporting false solutions like “carbon capture and sequestration.” In addition, we are now experiencing both the rise of 21st century fascist movements and devastating wars in Ukraine and now Palestine/Israel.
In the USA, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia led the Biden Administration to ramp up production of methane gas and the expansion of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export terminals, primarily along the Texas and Louisiana coast. That major greenhouse gas is now being shipped primarily to Europe to deal with Europe’s loss of energy resources because of the war. And despite a clear military stalemate, and a growing number of voices and countries calling for a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement, there is no indication that the Biden Administration has changed its position of no negotiations and all-out military support for Ukraine.
As far as the Palestine/Israel war, a major danger is the spread of this conflict throughout the Middle East if Israel continues with its genocidal destruction of Gaza, escalation of violent settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, and tens of thousands of civilian Palestinian deaths as a result. It is realistic to expect that if those things happen, if a ceasefire is not soon put into place, the street demonstrations already taking place in massive numbers in not just the Middle East but many other parts of the world, including the US, are going to get even bigger, more angry and more militant.
For the US arms industry, this is what they want. In today’s Guardian newspaper an article entitled, “’Hamas Has Created Additional Demand’: Wall Street Eyes Big Profits From War,” says at one point: ‘Morgan Stanley’s head of aerospace and defense equity research, Kristine Liwag, took a similar approach to the conflict during Raytheon’s 24 October earnings call: ‘Looking at [the White House’s $106bn supplemental funding request], you’ve got equipment for Ukraine, air and missile defense for Israel, and replenishment of stockpiles for both. And this seems to fit quite nicely with the Raytheon Defense portfolio,’ said Liwag, whose employer holds over $3bn in Raytheon stock.”
No War, No Warming: this is a slogan that emerged in the mid-2000’s after the US invasion of Iraq and as the seriousness of the climate crisis began to be appreciated. It’s still appropriate right now, although there is a better, more clear articulation of the problem: No War, No Fossil Fuels.
Who is the enemy of peace, justice and a healthy, healing environment? It’s the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about over 60 years ago, but it’s also the fossil fuel industry. It’s all of the other polluting, undemocratic and destructive corporations. It’s the system, the domination of political and economic life by the billionaire class. As long as this class, the 1%, rules the world, our children and grandchildren face a truly awful future.
In the words of a song from the global justice movement 20-plus years ago, “Rise up, keep the spirit alive, come together, have to organize. Rise up, we don’t have long, come together, keep our movement strong.”
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