This is an extract from our report “Nuclear Weapons, the Climate and Our Environment”.
Guns and bombs will not stop climate chaos, yet the UK government spends nearly three times more on the military every year than it spends on climate change measures and the protection of the natural environment.
This spending reflects the tendency of governments to view security in terms of the security of the state, rather than the security of human beings. Policies are thus geared towards advancing “‘national interests’ defined by the political establishment, including corporate business interests and UK ‘world power’ status”. The focus is on defending borders, securing access to resources and maintaining an international economic system that is favourable to British companies. This requires a strong military, it is assumed, with access to a sophisticated array of weaponry and the ability to project power over other nations.
Within this patriarchal paradigm, the most powerful weapons of all – nuclear weapons – are promoted as the ultimate guarantee of security. The result is that vast amounts of resources are directed towards the production and maintenance of weapons of mass destruction, instead of towards measures that address human security threats.
The money spent on nuclear weapons would be spent on international climate finance or Green New Deal initiatives. Click on the links for more:
- International climate finance instead of weapons of mass destruction
- Disarmament, defence diversification and a Green New Deal
 S Perlo-Freeman, “Fighting the wrong battles: how obsession with military power diverts resources from the climate crisis” (CAAT, February 2020): https://www.caat.org.uk/resources/publications/government/fighting-the-wrong-battles-feb2020.pdf. For a breakdown of the UK’s climate change and nature spending see “Government investment for a greener and fairer economy” (Greenpeace et al, 2019) https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Government-Investment-for-a-greener-and-fairer-economy-FINAL-30.08.19.pdf.
 “Rethinking security: a discussion paper” (The Ammerdown Group, May 2016): https://rethinkingsecurityorguk.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/rethinking-security-a-discussion-paper.pdf.