,The European Union has got its act together with a Circular Economy Plan. It sees the problem clearly: “There is only one planet earth, yet by 2050, the world will be consuming as if there were three. Global consumption of materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and minerals is expected to double in the next 40 years (In this file pic EU is pictured in front of the EU Headquarters in Brussels)
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TECHNICALLY, today Sept 11, the United States’ war on terror is over.
According to the Brown University Cost of War study, since 9/11, the US will have spent US$4.7 trillion (RM19.44 trillion) waging war by the end of 2022, excluding interest on debt used to finance the wars (US$1.1 trillion or RM4.55 trillion) and war veteran care costs (US$2.2 trillion or RM9.1 trillion).
The human cost was 929,000 people killed and 38 million displaced. Look at how the US Treasury debt ballooned from US$5.8 trillion (RM23.99 trillion) or 54.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in September 2001 to US$28.4 trillion (RM117.48 trillion) or 135.7% of GDP by August 2021.
Such financial and human costs of the war on terror may be trivial compared with the coming climate change costs on the whole planet. War costs only add to climate warming.
The Brown University study showed that “the US Department of Defence is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world and a key contributor to climate change. Between 2001 and 2017, the years for which data is available since the beginning of the war on terrorism with the US invasion of Afghanistan, the US military emitted 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases.”
Today, the IPCC 2021 Sixth Assessment has warned that the planet is running out of time to deal with climate change. This is an existential crisis not just for one country but the whole of mankind. Like the pandemic, we need a whole-of-government and whole-of-society to act decisively in the war on climate change.
The European Union has got its act together with a Circular Economy Plan. It sees the problem clearly: “There is only one planet earth, yet by 2050, the world will be consuming as if there were three. Global consumption of materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and minerals is expected to double in the next 40 years, while annual waste generation is projected to increase by 70% by 2050.”
The world spent US$2 trillion (RM8.27 trillion) on military expenditure or 2.4% in 2020, four times the amount spent on energy transformation. The first can only add to global carbon emission and more human and natural destruction, the other addresses our common fate.
So why should business take the lead in this war on climate change?
The simple answer is that the business community makes almost all the products that the world consumes, including weapons of war. Just 100 of these private and state-owned companies were responsible for 71% of the global GHG emissions that cause global warming since 1998, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Up to 80% of products’ environmental impacts are determined at the design phase, so the business sector can re-tool these green products fast. That is the profit opportunity.