This statement is from the Veterans For Peace Climate Crisis & Militarism Project.
As members of Veterans For Peace, we appreciate the work of Climate Envoy John Kerry in negotiating the U.S.-China Joint Statement Addressing the Climate Crisis to strengthen enforcement of the Paris Climate Accord and collaborate on strategies to dramatically lower fossil fuel emissions.
This agreement was made just prior to President Biden’s 40-nation conference, The Leaders’ Summit on Climate, on April 22-23, 2021, and reflected the importance of global cooperation to address the existential climate crisis.
To our disappointment, the Senate recently undermined Kerry’s efforts when it passed the “U.S.Innovation and Competition Act” to tether governmental investment in technology to militarized rivalry with China. Preparations for war are not a rational response to the climate crisis, but an expensive and dangerous diversion. Hence, this bill contradicts the Biden administration’s “whole of government” approach to the climate crisis. Similarly, the Eagle Act, legislation proposed by Rep. Meeks, must be amended to remove the call for increased militarism in the Asia Pacific.
In response, Veterans For Peace calls for an end to the framing of China as the United States’ greatest national security threat. Such false framing will be used by legislators and profit-driven military contractors to justify weapons production, troop deployment, war exercises, and mock nuclear strikes in the Asian Pacific region--all in preparation for a military showdown over the future of Taiwan. U.S. militarism in the region will increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, divert resources needed to address the climate crisis, and threaten global security during an era when Pentagon planners have considered integrating nuclear weapons into conventional warfare.
Our greatest national security threat is the worsening climate crisis. Rather than squandering tax dollars and fossil fuels on war preparedness, our government needs to address the climate crisis.
Veterans For Peace requests:
- We ask that the U.S. build upon the U.S.-China Joint Statement Addressing the Climate Crisis by agreeing to track and publicly report U.S. military greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – from air, water and land within the United States and from the 800 overseas U.S. military bases – and by reporting the GHG emissions that come from the manufacture and transporting of military equipment and weapons.
- We ask Congress to reduce President Biden’s record high $753 billion budget for military spending, including billions of dollars for new nuclear weapons, and invest more in renewable energy, healthcare, housing, public transportation, immigration reform and racial justice.
- We ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to ensure that bills which demonize China, such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s US Innovation and Competition Act, never reach the floor of the House. We ask that the Eagle Act, introduced by Rep. Gregory Meeks, be amended to remove sections that call for increased militarism in the South China and stepped up military training for governments around the world.
- We ask that Joe Biden and John Kerry appear in a televised broadcast to emphasize that the heart of U.S. foreign policy is global climate collaboration.
- We ask our allied organizations to help us amplify the U.S.-China cooperation agreement to “maximize international investment and finance in support of the transition from carbon-intensive fossil fuel based energy to green, low-carbon and renewable energy in developing countries; implement the phase down of hydrofluorocarbon production and consumption reflected in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol; adopt green and climate resilient agricultural practices; increase deployment of renewable energy and cooperate on addressing emissions from international civil aviation and maritime activities.”
It is essential that diplomacy and collaborative responses to the climate crisis, such as the U.S.-China Climate Agreement, prevail over militarism and war preparations. That is the type of leadership the U.S. needs to provide. During these perilous times, the U.S. and China must work together for the sake of present and future generations.