Since 2008 the Institute for Policy Studies has been measuring the balance of federal spending on the military and on climate change. Here are the results for FY 2011:
Spending on climate change has more than doubled, from $7 billion in 2008 to $18 billion for 2011. Military spending has increased more, though at a slower rate, climbing from $696 billion in 2008 to $739 for 2011.
The result: the gap between spending on the military and on climate has been cut in half. In 2008 the U.S. spent $94 on the military for every dollar spent on climate. In 2011 the ratio will be $41 to $1.
This is progress, but the gap is still unacceptably large, for these reasons:
- The hottest decade on record. The rate of climate change is accelerating, and legislative action to curb emissions is at a standstill. $18 billion in federal spending will make barely a dent in a huge problem.
- Security. The U.S. military has begun to talk about “climate security,” realizing that land and resource conflicts caused by climate change will create security problems unlike any it has ever faced.
- Economic competitiveness. China is on track to lead the world in the growth industries of solar and wind power by next year. It spends twice as much on clean energy technology as does the U.S., and about one-sixth as much on its military, or between $2 and $3 on the military for each dollar on climate.
- Jobs. A 2009 study conducted at the University of Massachusetts found that each $1 billion invested in clean energy technology will generate approximately 17,100 well-paying jobs, as compared to 11,600 jobs generated by the same amount invested in military technology.
The full report is at: