The Climate-Industrial Complex Enters a New Era

Comments Off on The Climate-Industrial Complex Enters a New Era
The Climate-Industrial Complex Enters a New Era

When he retired, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former general who led the Allied forces in Europe during World War II, warned the nation about the dangers of the so-called “military-industrial complex.”1

He declared that the military-industrial complex represents the intersection between the self-interests of defense contractors, elected officials, and government bureaucrats, which could potentially work against the best interests of taxpayers and the nation’s defense.

Over the past six decades, Americans have debated the role of the military-industrial complex even as U.S defense budgets have come to dwarf those of all other nations. People on both sides of the issues ask difficult questions, such as:

  • What is the right level of defense spending?
  • What are the trade-offs between more spending on defense and other priorities?

Just as Eisenhower was one of the first to recognize that the aims of the military-industrial complex might not always align with the best interests of the United States, the Trends editors were among a small contingent that two decades ago recognized a similar nexus of power termed the “climate-industrial complex.”

Now, the true costs of this alliance of self-interests are finally coming to light.

Climate Change Business Journal used public data to identify $1.5 trillion in worldwide revenues linked to the climate-industrial complex; that is almost identical to the $1.5 trillion in worldwide defense spending associated with the military-industrial complex.2 The parallels don’t end there:

  • First, spending on both defense and climate change are determined largely by government policies rather than by free markets.
  • Second, just as defense spending is justified by the perceived threat of an attack, climate change spending is largely dependent on the perceived threat posed by climate change. This is particularly important when we give the responsibility for assessing the threat to those who make money addressing the threat.
  • Third, just as with the military-industrial complex, many diversified firms receive subsidies and revenues from the climate-industrial complex, even if it represents only a fraction of their business. So the tentacles of influence extend into unexpected places.

So what industries are we talking about?

The climate-industrial complex consists of the following nine specific industry sectors identified by Climate Change Business Journal, as well as related government agencies and lobbyists:3

Industry #1: Low-Carbon and Renewable Power...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund