Cop26 is still ink, and citizens are looking at the intestines to see if any significant progress has been made. One thing is certain: The planet is in mortal danger. Actions now need to match or exceed words.
Despite the risk to human life posed from extreme weather events, governments of rich countries are hesitant to take the necessary steps to address this problem. And a huge elephant in the room at Cop26 was the failure to even consider tackling the war industry’s part in this crisis.
This industry, which is powered by fossil-fuels, is among the worst polluters on the Earth. For example, the US defence department has a larger carbon footprint than most countries — in fact, if it were a country it would register as the 55th biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Some readers may feel a sense of relief at the thought that the Republic of Ireland is not contributing to this aspect of planetary danger. They would be wrong to assume otherwise.
We were a small player in the arms industry before our neutrality was slowly and stealthily lost. However, that has all changed and will continue to change in the future.
This is evident in the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces hosting an event entitled Support for Enterprise, Research and Innovation in Defence. It will take place at the Aviva Stadium on November 25.
The event, which will officially open by Simon Coveney as Foreign Affairs Minister, proudly declares itself as a high level seminar and networking event on the new EU funding.
The use of the term ‘ecosystem’ is especially offensive when one considers the environmental damage done to the ecosystem by the military/war machine.
The promotion for the event states that it will offer “significant networking opportunities with top officials from the EU Commission and the European Defence Agency. Enterprise Ireland and the European Defence Industry who present on the European Defence Fund and defence tech engagement and Horizon Europe options over the next EU Budgetary Cycle, 2021-2027.”
Isn’t this extraordinary and troubling in equal measure?
We in Ireland know better than anyone the harm that weapons can cause to our environment and people. The issue of decommissioning weapons following the Good Friday Agreement — which was happily achieved, to a greater or lesser extent — dominated our media and public discourse for many years.
We are now intentionally getting more involved in the business to build weapons systems for profit. The consequences of this will undoubtedly be death, suffering and forced migration of people we don’t know and against whom no grudge or grudge.
Already, the world is flooded with weapons that kill, maim, and drive people from their homes. We don’t need more. In 2019, the global arms industry racked-up an almost incomprehensible bill totalling $1,900bn. This is a large number of the pledges made at Cop26 to save the planet.
Global warming and war are threatening the survival of our planet.
What is official Ireland’s response?
A decision, under the watch of the Green Party, I might add, to participate in building more weapons, costing — literally — the earth.
I’m sure those who will attend this conference will be highly qualified, politely spoken, and neatly dressed, but the business they will be promoting is the business of blood and of ecological devastation.
For the sake of the planet’s welfare and its people, Mr Coveney should reflect on the millions of war victims around the globe and call for an end to this horrible event.
- Joe Murray is the co-ordinator of Afri — Action From Ireland. Afri was created in 1975. It works on peace, justice, and environmental issues.