With reference to your report on the COP25 climate talks in Madrid (13 December), we have just returned from Madrid, where we displayed a large banner saying “War causes climate change and climate change causes war”. Thousands of passing delegates expressed a great interest in, and approval of, the message.
Scientists for Global Responsibility estimates that 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions result from military-related activity – apart from the unfathomable human devastation – so at first sight it appears astonishing that the subject of war does not feature in the COP negotiations; nor are its emissions taken into account when reduction targets are set.
Perhaps this absence can be explained by the fact that military-related emissions have been excluded by some of the largest polluters from the global north whose delegates, as government officials, will naturally avoid jeopardising lucrative arms and military aid contracts, and whose people do not suffer the catastrophic wars and climatic devastation that directly affect the global south. Evidently we cannot rely on government negotiators to address the subject of war and militarism.
We have to stop believing that war is inevitable and accept that international climate finance offers better value in both resolving conflict and sustaining the environment than the equivalent spent on military operations.
Movement for the Abolition of War
• I was delighted to see Greta Thunberg announced as Time magazine’s person of the year (Report, 12 December). For me, after so many years of campaigning on environmental issues, it has been a huge relief that now, in 2019, the future of the planet has finally entered the political mainstream – and not a moment too soon.
This is thanks, in no small part, to the vision and actions of Greta herself, but also to those many others whom she has inspired to take up the fight. The world is realising the scale of the threat posed by every aspect of our destructive exploitation of our lovely planet.
Now we need to see some real political leadership so that the leading nations of the world, our own included, can ensure a real revolution in practice, to match the fiery ambitions that have been lit up in our hearts by this inspirational Swedish teenager.
Green party MEP, East of England
• I’m writing in reference to your use of the term “global heating”. I understand the motivation is probably to draw attention to the fact that we are actively changing the climate, a laudable goal. However, the term should be used correctly. In an article about the disappointing results of the COP25 climate negotiations (Discord at climate talks branded a betrayal, 16 December) it was noted that: “Experts say more ambitious emissions cuts are needed globally if the Paris pledge to hold global heating to no more than 2C is to be met.”
However, heating involves a change in energy and is measured in joules. Warming, on the other hand, is a change in temperature and is measured in degrees celsius. So “global warming” would have been more apt here.
I know that climate change deniers, some of whom have some knowledge of physics, keep a lookout for inconsistencies like this. Better not to give them any extra ammunition. Keep up the good environmental reporting – I’m a fan.
Prof Joe LaCasce
University of Oslo
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