UPDATE 24. April 2022: The US Military is Driving Environmental Collapse Across the Planet

ICYMI: THE Earth Disaster Documentary

U.S. military is world’s ‘single largest producer’ of greenhouse gases – report

USA has the dirtiest war machine - © Reuters / US Army / Ryan Hallock
The Pentagon is the “single largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world,” according to a new study about climate change that accuses the Trump administration of being in “various modes of denial” about it.
 

The report, from Brown University’s ‘Costs of War’ project, focuses specifically on "post-9/11 wars" and their impact on emissions. It estimates the US military has been responsible for 1,212 million metric tons of greenhouse gases between 2001 and 2017. Emissions from “overseas contingency operations” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria accounted for more than 400 million metric tons of CO2. In 2017 alone, the report says, “the Pentagon's emissions were greater than all emissions from Sweden or Denmark.”  

The effects of climate change will soon be “feeding political tensions and fueling mass migrations and refugee crises,” the report says, noting that the military has already added climate change to its list of national security concerns.

The researchers criticized the Pentagon for acknowledging the threat of climate change to national security, but failing to acknowledge "that its own fuel use is a major contributor.” They also accused "some elements" within the Trump administration of being "in various modes of climate denial.”

While the military received praise for making some effort to decrease its energy consumption, including by gradually replacing some non-tactical fleet vehicles with hybrid, plug-in or alternative fuel vehicles, reducing idling, and developing solar installations at some bases, the report says there is “room for more reductions.”

The study found seven major sources of greenhouse gas emissions relating to US military activities, including from installations and non-war operations, war-related emissions and emissions from the production of weapons. Emissions caused by the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure in war zones and the deliberate burning of oil wells and refineries by all parties to war have also been factored in.

The authors also question whether the huge US presence in the Persian Gulf is necessary, since the US itself is less dependent on the region's oil than in the past and does not necessarily need to “protect the global flow” of oil.

One of the recommendations was that the Pentagon should report its fuel consumption to Congress annually, information which is currently “explicitly withheld.”

The researchers also recommended that each military installation should draw up plans to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent by 2022, and advised increased use of alternative fuels, hybrid vehicles and renewable energy. The Pentagon should also identify which military and national guard bases could be closed, whether due to climate change impacts or diminished threats.

The US military must urgently "reduce their role" in creating greenhouse gas emissions as a matter of national security, the report urged, concluding that if it takes bold actions to reduce fossil fuel use, there could be “enormous positive implications” for the climate.

WATCH & READ ALSO:

The Pentagon’s Carbon Boot Print

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US military consumes more hydrocarbons than most countries—massive hidden impact on climate

by Lancaster University

https://scx1.b-cdn.net/csz/news/800/2018/1-climate.jpg
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The US military's carbon footprint is enormous and must be confronted in order to have a substantial effect on battling global warming.

Research by social scientists from Durham University and Lancaster University shows the US military is one of the largest polluters in history, consuming more and emitting more CO2e (carbon-dioxide equivalent) than most countries.

The majority of greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting routinely focuses on civilian energy use and consumption, not on the US military. This new study, published in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, calculates part of the US military's impact on climate change through critical analysis of its global logistical supply chains.

The research provides an independent public assessment of the US military's . It reports that if the US military were a nation state, it would be the 47th largest emitter of GHG in the world, if only taking into account the emission from fuel usage.

Report co-author Dr. Patrick Bigger, of Lancaster University Environment Centre, said: "The US Military has long understood it is not immune from the potential consequences of climate change—recognising it as a threat multiplier that can exacerbate other threats—nor has it ignored its own contribution to the problem.

"Yet its climate policy is fundamentally contradictory—confronting the effects of climate change while remaining the largest single institutional consumer of hydrocarbons in the world, a situation it is locked into for years to come because of its dependence on existing aircraft and warships for open-ended operations around the globe."

Despite the recent increase in attention, the US military's dependence on fossil fuels is unlikely to change. The US is continuing to pursue open-ended operations around the globe, with the life-cycles of existing military aircraft and warships locking them into hydrocarbons for years to come.

The research comes at a time when the US military is preparing for climate change through both its global supply networks and its security infrastructure. This study brings transparency to one of the world's largest institutional consumers of hydrocarbons at a time when the issue is a hot-button topic on the US Presidential campaign trail. Leading Democratic candidates, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, are asking critical questions of the role of the US military in and examining its plans for the future.

Co-author Dr. Benjamin Neimark, Associate Director of the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business at Lancaster, said: "This research provides ample evidence to support recent calls by activist networks to include the US military in Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal and other international climate treaties."

Co-author Dr. Oliver Belcher, of Durham University's Department of Geography, said: "Our research demonstrates that to account for the US military as a major climate actor, you must understand the logistical supply chain that makes its acquisition and consumption of hydrocarbon-based fuels possible.

"How do we account for the most far-reaching, sophisticated supply chains, and the largest climate polluter in history? While incremental changes can amount to radical effects in the long-run, there is no shortage of evidence that the climate is at a tipping point and more is needed."

The researchers' examination of the US military 'carbon boot-print' started with the US Defense Logistics Agency—Energy (DLA-E), a powerful yet virtually unresearched sub-agency within the larger Defense Logistics Agency. It is the primary purchase-point for hydrocarbon-based fuels for the US Military, and a powerful actor in the global oil market, with the fuels it delivers powering everything from routine base operations in the USA to forward operating bases in Afghanistan.

"An important way to cool off the furnace of the climate emergency is to turn off vast sections of the military machine," added Dr. Neimark. "This will have not only the immediate effect of reducing emissions in the here-and-now, but create a disincentive in developing new hydrocarbon infrastructure integral to US military operations."

Other key findings of the report include:

  • In 2017 alone, the US military purchased about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kt- CO2e by burning those fuels. In 2017 alone, the Air Force purchased $4.9 billion worth of fuel and the Navy $2.8 billion, followed by the Army at $947 million and Marines at $36 million.
  • If the US military were a country, it would nestle between Peru and Portugal in the global league table of fuel purchasing, when comparing 2014 World Bank country liquid fuel consumption with 2015 US military liquid .
  • For 2014, the scale of emissions is roughly equivalent to total—not just fuel—emissions from Romania. According to the DLA-E data obtained by the researchers, which includes GHG emissions from direct or stationary sources, indirect or mobile sources and electricity use, and other indirect, including upstream and downstream emissions.
  • The Air Force is by far the largest emitter of GHG at more than 13,000 kt CO2e, almost double that of the US Navy's 7,800 kt CO2e. In addition to using the most polluting types of fuel, the Air Force and Navy are also the largest purchasers of fuel.

Explore further

Why it's so hard to trace the patterns of unsustainable fossil fuel use


More information: Oliver Belcher et al, Hidden carbon costs of the "everywhere war": Logistics, geopolitical ecology, and the carbon boot-print of the US military, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2019). DOI: 10.1111/tran.12319

Provided by Lancaster University

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US military is a bigger polluter than as many as 140 countries

by Benjamin Neimark, Oliver Belcher And Patrick Bigger, The Conversation

https://scx1.b-cdn.net/csz/news/800/2019/usmilitaryis.jpg

US Air Force fighters during the 1991 Gulf War. Credit: Everett Historical/Shutterstock

The US military's carbon bootprint is enormous. Like corporate supply chains, it relies upon an extensive global network of container ships, trucks and cargo planes to supply its operations with everything from bombs to humanitarian aid and hydrocarbon fuels. Our new study calculated the contribution of this vast infrastructure to climate change.

Greenhouse gas emission accounting usually focuses on how much energy and fuel civilians use. But recent work, including our own, shows that the US military is one of the largest polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more -changing gases than most medium-sized countries. If the US military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, sitting between Peru and Portugal.

In 2017, the US military bought about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide by burning those fuels. The US Air Force purchased US$4.9 billion worth of fuel, and the navy US$2.8 billion, followed by the army at US$947m and the Marines at US$36m.

It's no coincidence that US military emissions tend to be overlooked in climate change studies. It's very difficult to get consistent data from the Pentagon and across US government departments. In fact, the United States insisted on an exemption for reporting military emissions in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. This loophole was closed by the Paris Accord, but with the Trump administration due to withdraw from the accord in 2020, this gap will will return.

Our study is based on data retrieved from multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to the US Defense Logistics Agency, the massive bureaucratic agency tasked with managing the US military's supply chains, including its hydrocarbon fuel purchases and distribution.

The US military has long understood that it isn't immune from the potential consequences of climate change—recognising it as a "threat multiplier" that can exacerbate other risks. Many, though not all, military bases have been preparing for climate change impacts like sea level rise. Nor has the military ignored its own contribution to the problem. As we have previously shown, the military has invested in developing alternative energy sources like biofuels, but these comprise only a tiny fraction of spending on fuels.

The American military's climate policy remains contradictory. There have been attempts to "green" aspects of its operations by increasing renewable electricity generation on bases, but it remains the single largest institutional consumer of hydrocarbons in the world. It has also locked itself into hydrocarbon-based weapons systems for years to come, by depending on existing aircraft and warships for open-ended operations.

Not green, but less, military

Climate change has become a hot-button topic on the campaign trail for the 2020 presidential election. Leading Democratic candidates, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, and members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are calling for major climate initiatives like the Green New Deal. For any of that to be effective, the US military's carbon bootprint must be addressed in domestic policy and international climate treaties.

Our study shows that action on demands shuttering vast sections of the military machine. There are few activities on Earth as environmentally catastrophic as waging war. Significant reductions to the Pentagon's budget and shrinking its capacity to wage war would cause a huge drop in demand from the biggest consumer of in the world.

It does no good tinkering around the edges of the war machine's environmental impact. The money spent procuring and distributing across the US empire could instead be spent as a peace dividend, helping to fund a Green New Deal in whatever form it might take. There are no shortage of policy priorities that could use a funding bump. Any of these options would be better than fuelling one of the largest military forces in history.


Provided by The Conversation

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UPDATE:

The US Military is Driving Environmental Collapse Across the Planet

The U.S. military emits more carbon than 140 countries combined, fueling climate change and environmental degradation. Below we examine five ways in which the Pentagon is destroying the environment.

By Sam Carliner - 24. April 2022

Photo: Reuters

Summer 2021 has been an alarming season for climate news. Massive fires have raged from California to Europe; countries in the Global South have been hit by deadly droughts and historic winters; and on August 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report confirming what many people already knew: the climate crisis is already here. For the past three years, leading climate scientists have argued that the global average temperature rise needs to remain below 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. The recent IPCC report suggests that humanity is past the point where meeting that limit is possible.

Left Voice has regularly covered how the climate crisis is a result of the capitalist system which is incapable of responding to such a universal and rapidly-evolving threat to humanity. While capitalists are doing their part to fuel global disaster, the Pentagon, one of the bastions of the imperialist state, deserves a notable mention for its role in the climate crisis. The U.S. military — with its 800 foreign bases planted around the globe to enforce the will of the U.S. empire — is a bigger polluter than 100 countries combined.

Here are five of the ways the Pentagon is fueling climate change.

1: Keeping Imperialism Running 

As noted above, the U.S. military consists of nearly 800 bases in foreign countries and territories. Keeping all of these bases running and connected also requires a massive network of transportation, including ships and planes, and infrastructure like energy and water.

An article in Newsweek found that in 2017 “the U.S. military bought about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide by burning those fuels.” Research by Brown University’s Costs of War project shows that from 2001 to 2017, U.S. “overseas contingency operations” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria have produced 400 million tons of CO2 emissions. Other findings by Costs of War show that the war in Afghanistan resulted in illegal logging which has led to the destruction of wildlife habitats, and the war in Iraq has increased cancer rates and birth defects.

Even outside of warzones, the U.S. military threatens human life and prosperity daily by pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. There is unjustifiable harm from even the U.S. military’s most mundane fuel use, such as keeping the lights on at some base in Italy or filling up vehicles for training U.S. troops in Australia. Every penny spent on such actions is a penny spent on fossil fuels that are slowly making the world uninhabitable, all for the purpose of maintaining U.S. capital’s control of the world’s resources for profit.

2: Supporting Oil

One of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis is the burning of fossil fuels. As covered above, the U.S. military consumes enormous amounts of fossil fuel. However, its role in fossil fuel use goes far beyond its own consumption — an entire global economy has been built around the cheap extraction of oil. Fossil fuel capitalists were able to build such an economy by using the U.S. military to violently secure their interests. This violent protection of fossil fuel interests was one of the main drivers of the U.S. military’s wars in the Middle East.

We will never know the Pentagon’s exact contribution to global warming, but we can calculate the extreme spike in oil production as a result of U.S. capital seizing Iraq with the help of the U.S. military. In 2016, Iraq produced more than 4 million barrels of oil per day, more than double what it was producing in 2003, the year of the U.S. invasion.

The intertwining of U.S. imperialist hegemony at the start of the 21st century and oil production has created an uphill battle for the transition to renewable energy. Even with the obvious planetary benefits of wind and solar technology, the most influential sectors of capital will continue to back fossil fuel extraction. Between finance capital, which has billions of dollars invested in oil and expects returns, and the fossil fuel industry, which has sunk costs in extraction infrastructure, the most influential sectors of capital will continue to oppose an economy built around green energy.

This continued investment in oil will mean continued investment in resource wars. Already, some figures in the U.S. State Department and Pentagon have been discussing the need for the United States to compete with Russia in the Arctic over newly emerging trade routes and below ground oil reserves.

3: Harming Indigenous Communities

Indigenous people around the world have been at the forefront of environmental protection. Many indigenous communities have fought bravely to protect their land from the U.S. empire and its knack for destroying whole ecosystems.

In fact, the U.S. military is founded on a history of war against Native people and their lands. This was the legacy of the “American Indian Wars,” in which the U.S. army was used to colonize North America, and enforce the genocide of Native people and theft of land and resources.

The modern U.S. military continues to pose a threat to indigenous communities and their land by maintaining foreign bases. While U.S. military violence towards indigenous people has continued, so has the resistance led by indigenous communities. For example, in Okinawa, the presence of the U.S. military has been the subject of significant opposition. Currently, indigenous Okinawans are trying to stop construction of a new base which would destroy burial grounds for victims of war and pose a threat to 262 different endangered species.

The U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region is likely to become a greater focus of the Biden administration as he puts more emphasis on competition with China. This makes it all the more essential for an international environmental movement to stand in solidarity with indigneous communities on islands key to U.S. operations in the Pacific, such as in Okinawa, Hawaii, and Guam.

4: Producing Hazardous Waste

The destructive presence of U.S. military bases is not limited to foreign soil. Throughout the United States, military bases have produced toxic chemicals which gravely impact the health of communities near these bases. One of the worst forms of military pollution throughout the United States is a synthetic foam known as (AFFF).

Developed by the U.S. navy in the 1960s, this chemical has been shown to cause all sorts of immune, hormonal, and reproductive health problems which are sometimes fatal, as well as various types of cancer. Due to the military’s regular use of the chemical in training exercises at hundreds of bases throughout the United States, the foam has been seeping into the water and soil across the country, poisoning communities while the military dodges accountability.

In response to several class action lawsuits, the Pentagon has started disposing of their AFFF supply by incinerating it, creating a whole new form of grand-scale poisoning.

5: Deprioritizing Worthwhile Projects

In the United States, we’re constantly told that there’s no money to implement any comprehensive measures for fighting the climate crisis. Public transportation, green infrastructure, solar energy, etc. are deemed “too expensive.”

The truth is that the money for such projects exists, but it’s going to the Pentagon. In 2015, the military received 54 percent of the federal budget, and each new budget further bloats funding for The Pentagon. The Biden administration has already requested a 2022 defense budget which would increase military spending by 1.6 percent compared to this year.

The $715 billion that Biden requests for military spending in this budget could instead go to green infrastructure projects. For example, if a $715 billion annual budget was put towards replacing the U.S. electrical grid with renewable energy, it would only take a little more than eight years to completely replace the entire electrical grid of the United States.

There are also plenty of smaller projects that could be accomplished with one year’s worth of the money requested for the 2022 military budget. The $715 billion is more than enough to cover the cost of boats needed to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an island of garbage twice the size of Texas currently floating between California and Hawaii.

Defund the Pentagon 

Only socialism can adequately tackle the climate crisis which is already destroying entire ecosystems and costing lives. Capitalism kills via the climate crisis when people in Texas freeze to death because their power grid crashesin the winter and when people in the Pacific Northwest die of unprecedented heat waves. Capitalism kills by depriving the most exploited countries of food and water and by subjecting oppressed communities in the imperialist countries to environmental racism. The global environmental movement needs to take a revolutionary stand against capitalism and it needs to be led by the poor and working-class communities around the world who are already facing the worst consequences of capitalist-fueled climate change.

Part of the fight against capitalism is the fight against imperialism. Leftists in imperialist countries, especially the United States, have an obligation to fight imperialism for many reasons. The role of the U.S. military in fueling climate change is just one reason that the U.S. Left needs to demand the defunding of the Pentagon.

Defunding the Pentagon means closing the 800 bases and web of ships and planes which require an endless stream of fuel. It means not polluting working-class communities with hazardous waste. It also means making it clear to all that the climate crisis is not the fault of individuals, but of the capitalist class and their institutions of violence. The working class and leaders of movements to fight climate change need to unite around the demand to invest in green energy and environmental conservation while divesting from war and all other forms of imperialist aggression.

Author:

Sam Carliner is a socialist with a background in journalism. He mainly writes for Left Voice about US imperialism. He also tweets about imperialism as @saminthecan.   author site

COMMENTS:

 

Thank you Sam! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! FINALLY- someone has said it: the climate will be saved if/when the Pentagon ceases its destruction of it by its mere existence. This is absolutely a fact and addresses multiple issues.

Hunger
Forced migration
Devolution of forests
Killing of wildlife (on land, in the air and in the sea)
Toxic pollution via spills, bombings, etc.

Look at what the US military has done to the once pristine coastal environment of Okinawa. And by the way continues to do so against the overwhelming opposition of locals.

It goes on…every loss of environment can probably be traced right back to some function of the out-of-control military industrial complex.

Please find yourself a copy of the 2008 documentary ‘Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives’ by Lincoln and Alice Day. The numbers, obviously, are not accurate put the rest is.

Here’s a short trailer:
https://youtu.be/TzfV7e1ELuA

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Thank you , this is right up my alley as I been detained by some foolishness of bank’s error, but we as a US 501.c3 nonprofit charitable assoc are transitioning as we continue to co_evolve thinking how efficiently earthlings can rid toxic from earth-space! Doing it in away where people celebrate this gratitude of working w/good stewards still living it as good tech is created w/them!

So it is the toxic manufactures I think we all need to gain more understanding filling in the pieces many of us just support unknowingly that destroy the complex life that sustains our food source and we will follow, let alone they all make us ill;

Processed in food-soil-water-materials-cleaning products-weapons of war-Nuclear, the list is long and out start up plan we working t will allow each community to show what is and what can be as I want to support agroecological assessments as communities skillfully fill startup plan in, then follow by local plan to make it happen, even prioritys where so all critical thinkers join in! via subsidizing-sharing in solidarity-cooperative investments – work exchanges or good investors!

My sites are not actively being updated, rather I working also behind the scenes sharing it as a Nuclear peace platform sharing skilled intermediaries to do just this and more! For I see a lot of misinformation from people making war! Same us earthlings trying to perceive it!

Plus I share issues in this Google document I send t many so please see and I’d like to share your work?

Have you seem MEERreflection.com, Dr Ye and Emeritus Prof Guy McPherson did a nice analysis showing nothing else is more efficient then this!

I see much abuse behind other alternatives!

Plus see more of what I share as I just decided recently to chart detail of these manufactures and I want to support them w/empathy and not allow them to take any more energy from any of us, rather stop toxic and recycle tools to create life saving tools! Creating good energy-jobs and ending these scars from continuing! let me know and I will address this url if I may, sharing more of what to come. Do you have an archive where I could have access and what do you charge to take research of yours and I will do this once we create w/techs our archive-message bards and intro of all this, but yes also now working w/few Gov heads anytime I can show them facts it would be great help! vs me not having time to research it all my self, especially when these bank errors are something else and I keep resolving them, but I want to share this work I speak of!

Please see, it crude but it sets path for archive once I get budget together for techs, etc., plus I try to address sharing skilled when there are issues hurting so many that are corrupt, like COVID toxic vaccines and all mandates, UN Security-social medias-NATO-US GOV corrupt – totally fragmented pushing sales for defense industry;s and blaming RU for Ukraine, when I like UNAC and share on doc below Scott Ritters take on Ukraine. And I did not know the history as I told leaders on twitter and Kremlin that no one is listening why do they keep thinking UN is together, but now this link of Scottw/UNAC conversation of Ukraine, will share history showing in 1945 the Security Counsel made it so all country’s equal, yet US takes over, but no more RU and China are going back to the original. But I also added my lengthy take that I still am ashamed of how UN acts now, as well policy have to be updated not for ward codes etc. or war laws but to end all weapons of war and mind sets wanting them, as we support them from being manufactured!

Showing detail of above as well more in people’s resonating ability to understand ecologically, we must all prioritize human life on earth and the critters we depend on to do their part to keep us alive, showing more detail of time sensitive issues and it is not just climate change it is scars that keep happening and suffering is long over due to address and stop!!!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1t448KrG5TvFscv1WDisFHbFX4-gr8SCyV_kk0eW8ExA/edit?usp=sharing

Peace is real if we organize and share it! Even MEER project I just ask the guys to debate and compare with this issue that others believe is more real, that passed it on to me, but I yet to see it but will! Bt we want good science common sense discussion so we all have a direction to share in or we have a conversation to define, so we all can mindfully act!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihwoIlxHI3Q (WATCH BELOW)

Thank you for what you all do and I appreciate your work! I look forward to working more with you!
kara j lincoln

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ICYMI:

THE Earth Disaster Documentary

Dec 25, 2021

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