Sustainability Science

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 505–514 | Cite as

The temporal stability and developmental differences in the environmental impacts of militarism: the treadmill of destruction and consumption-based carbon emissions

  • Andrew K. JorgensonEmail author
  • Brett Clark
Technical Report
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Sustainable Production and Consumption


This study examines the relationship between national-level militarism and consumption-based carbon dioxide emissions. We analyze panel data from 1990 to 2010 for 81 nations to determine whether the magnitude of the effects of (1) military expenditures as percent of total gross domestic product and (2) military personnel as percent of total labor force on carbon emissions change over time. Results of two-way fixed effects models highlight the temporal stability of the environmental impacts of both national-level military characteristics. The findings also reveal that the effect of military expenditures on emissions is larger in the more developed OECD nations than in the developing non-OECD nations. Overall, the results support the treadmill of destruction perspective, which suggests that the nations’ militaries are an important social institution to consider in sustainability science research on the human drivers of global environmental change.


Climate change Carbon emissions Militarization Treadmill of destruction Sustainability science Environmental sociology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Environmental Studies ProgramBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Environmental and Sustainability Studies ProgramUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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