Militarization negatively influences green growth

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This was concluded by economists who studied the indicators of 21 OECD countries from 1980 to 2016

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Credit: UrFU / Ilya Safarov.

Military expenditures are highly counterproductive to green economic growth- documented by a recent study conducted by UrFU economist collaboration with an international research team. Sustainable economic development or green growth requires cleaner energy and green technology that can mitigate the negative externalities (e.g., carbon emission) of economic growth. The study utilized various macroeconomic indicators for 21 OECD countries over the year 1980-2016. This empirical study focusing on the dynamic impact of innovation, militarization and renewable energy on the green economy is published in the journal “Environmental Science and Pollution Research”.

On the one hand, the military-industry (land vehicles, aircraft, and sea-vessels) consume a gargantuan amount of fossil fuels. About 75% of the global non-renewable energy consumption (coal, gas, oil) is by military actions, economists claim. According to the BP report (without division by sectors), the five main consumers of oil, gas, coal in 2019 were China (120.64 EJ), the United States (78.81 EJ), India (31.01 EJ), Russia (26.2 EJ), and Japan (16.33 EJ).

On the other hand, militarization is one of the main sources of air and environmental pollution.

“Although there is a discrepancy in the environmental damages across the nations, the opulent countries invariably resume causing a challenge to the global ecosystem compared to the impoverishment of counterparts. For example, the Pentagon is the glaring example of a paramount consumer of non-renewable resources. The US maintains hundreds of military bases in sixty countries exclusively. Accordingly, recent armed forces’ equipment consistently becomes extra capital, more resource-intensive, and waste-generative as they have a substantial dependency on fossil fuels. In the act of assessing, supporting, and maintaining an arsenal of weapons, a substantial amount of toxic substances is released which is known to cause harm to the land and water adjacent to the military bases and the surrounding communities,” – says Sohag Kazi, co-author, senior researcher at the Department of Econometrics and Statistics, Ural Federal University.

Economists are not calling for abandoning militarization. Their suggestion is to not increase the annual funding for the military-industrial complex and to use renewable energy sources for military needs. The researches argue that switching from non-renewable energy to renewable energy in the production process would not significantly affect the output but would reduce carbon emissions.

“It is highly unlikely that governments would reduce the budget allocated for the defense purchases in developed countries for various reasons. However, we have a cautionary remark regarding the operation and maintenance of the military expenditures on green growth. It is recommended that developed countries curtail their military expenditures and non-renewable energy usage, and instead conduct their military operations more cautiously, certainly by using of renewable energy technology, which should help to contribute to a better world,” – says Sohag Kazi.

The study was conducted with participation of economists from Ural Federal University (Russia), University of Western Australia (Australia), Drexel University (USA), University of Economics (Vietnam), Universiti Teknologi MARA (Malaysia).

Military expenditures combine all current and capital expenditures spent on the militia, together with pacifist forces and defense establishments. It also includes government bureaus involved in defense projects, paramilitary forces if they are trained and provided for armed forces operations, and military space activities.

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Related Journal Article

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-13326-6

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