As the earth approaches climate tipping points, world leaders must consider the world’s largest institutional emitter of fossil fuels: the U.S. military.

by Ray Levy Uyeda, Prism

The annual meeting of United Nations member countries to discuss climate change will begin on Nov. 30 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Known as the Conference of the Parties (COP), this is the 28th year that the most polluting countries will manage to snake through negotiations, avoiding climate responsibility and pushing calls for justice down the field.

The conference will last two weeks. Delegates from member countries will negotiate terms of climate goals, while nongovernmental organizations and other coalition groups will offer perspectives on a range of climate issues, from a Just Transition to the intersection of gender and climate change. These international conversations are treated by institutional media and government as critical opportunities to come together to address climate change and mitigate harm.

US military jets over Iraq

But what these institutions won’t say is that COP has never resulted in substantive, much less effective, solutions for addressing climate change. Climate change is making life unlivable for under-resourced people in places with more frequent drought, more extreme weather events, and little access to resources that would otherwise ease the consequences of a planet responding to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

No COP discussion or agreement has ever suggested addressing root causes of climate change and ecological destruction—colonialism, imperialism—through demilitarization. But it should—and it should start with the U.S. The U.S. military industry is both the cause and consequence of climate change.

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