December 12, 2008

Nuclear disarmament synergies

Once you’ve spent a bit of time browsing the proposals put forward for inclusion in the Simultaneous Policy, you see the synergies. This is brought out in some of the policy supplements to the newsletter too, such as that on ‘Turning weapons into windmills’ on the impact on climate change of redirecting weapons spending to renewable energy production.

Similar synergies occurred for me yesterday. The proposal for Nuclear Disarmament did well in the recently concluded voting on policy proposals, gaining 60% approval for its further development. Mark Horler has taken up the challenge and posted a ‘work in progress’ expanding on the initial proposal to reference a proposed Nuclear Weapons Convention. He is looking for seconders for this to go forward. You can add your name at:

At the same time, I saw a news report of a new international organisation called Global Zero, which launched a campaign this week on exactly the same issue.

According to the International Business Times:

Global Zero released a poll of 21 countries that found global public opinion overwhelmingly favors an international agreement for eliminating all nuclear weapons according to a timetable -- 76 percent of respondents across all countries polled favor such an agreement. The question specified that "all countries would be monitored to ensure they follow the agreement." In the five nations with large nuclear arsenals and advanced delivery systems, large majorities favor the plan -- Russia (69%), the United States (77%), China(83%), France (86%), and Great Britain (81%). In nations that do not have nuclear weapons, similarly large majorities favor it.

This week too I wrote of the financial crisis and how re-thinking how we calculate GDP would prompt very different policy action from that we are seeing from our leaders, who encouraging people to take on more debt and consume more to get the world out of recession. Putting arms money into factors that boost health, environmental and social issues would make the ‘Beyond GDP’ figure improve. I wasn’t initially sympathetic to the ‘Beyond GDP’ proposal – which gained 64% approval – but with the prominence given to GDP figures in policy making now see the point. Also highly relevant is the proposal that ‘weapons spending be excluded from GDP’ - which gained 60% approval (though the proposer has today insisted that this proposal be withdrawn - the Policy Committee shortly to be elected will need to face in the new year how to handle this situation given it received the backing of Adopters).

You can sign up in support of the Global Zero campaign on their website at:

But I would suggest also sending them a message to back the disarmament proposals within the context of the Simultaneous Policy and giving the Nuclear Weapons Convention your support at:

The Simultaneous Policy leads us to think of a coherent package of measures, addressing the major issues facing our planet, not each in isolation. If we can harness some of the Global Zero energy to the broader Simultaneous Policy campaign and vice versa it will be mutually beneficial.

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