Carbon campaign controversy as arms dealers pledge to be environmental

By staff writers
January 18, 2010

An arms company and a military garrison are both facing criticism after seeking to present themselves as ethical by signing up to the 10:10 climate change campaign. The arms firm MBDA Systems and Blandford Garrison in Dorset have both pledged to cut their carbon emissions by ten per cent during 2010.

The 10:10 pledge has been signed by a wide range of organisations, including businesses, schools, the Guardian newspaper and the Conservative Party. It was founded by Franny Armstrong, well known as a radical filmmaker.

Manchester Airport was refused permission to sign on the grounds that its plans for an increasing number of passengers were incompatible with cuts in carbon emissions. However, MBDA and Blandford Garrison have been allowed on the grounds that the 10:10 commitment does not relate to other aspects of an organisation’s ethics.

"Of course arms manufacturers can reduce their emissions by 10%,” said Armstrong, “What they do with the rest of their time is a different matter, on which we couldn't possibly comment."

However, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) spokesperson Kaye Stearman insisted that MBDA’s involvement undermined 10:10’s credibility.

She told the Quaker magazine The Friend that “The manufacture, trade, use and cleanup of weaponry is highly polluting and carbon-intensive. Reducing emissions doesn’t make arms companies greener, it just makes them more efficient and profitable”.

It is not the first time that the arms industry has attempted to make use of the environmental movement. In 2006, BAE Systems launched lead-free bullets, on the grounds that lead in bullets can "pose a risk".

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