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Old 06-17-2019, 10:56 AM
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Post The U.S. military emits more greenhouse gases than Sweden and Denmark

The U.S. military emits more greenhouse gases than Sweden and Denmark
By: Scotty Hendricks - Big Think - 6-17-19
RE: https://bigthink.com/politics-curren...enhouse-gasses

The war machine needs fuel, perhaps so much as to make protecting oil redundant.

- A new study shows how the United States' Military is the largest institutional emitter of greenhouse gasses in the world.

- These emissions come from both combat and non-combat operations.

- The use of some of the fossil fuels the military burns to protect the supply of oil creates an interesting paradox.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know that climate change is the greatest threat facing the world today. The security risks posed by global warming are well known, and the United States' Department of Defense has been evaluating the dangers it poses for the past couple of decades. Even if the various problems climate change will inevitably cause are mild, the resultant droughts, food shortages, and natural disasters will be giving world leaders headaches for the next century.

However, according to a new study out of Brown University by Professor Neta C. Crawford, the United States Military is the world's largest institutional greenhouse gas emitter; meaning that they are preparing to deal with problems caused in part by their fossil fuel use.

Fueling the War Machine

As you might imagine, it takes a lot of fuel to keep the United States military going. What many people don't quite realize is how much that adds up to.

Since 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks, the military has emitted 1,212 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses. This includes 400 million tons of directly war-related emissions in the war zones of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria. In 2017, the last year for which data is available, the Department of Defense (DOD) emitted 58.4 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. This is more than the total emitted by the nations of Sweden or Denmark and is a substantial amount that significantly contributes to climate change.

Where does this all come from?
There are many parts of the war machine that burn fossil fuels. They can be broken down into two parts.

The first half is infrastructure. The DOD reports that 30% of its energy use is for physical installations. This is mostly for the electricity needed to power more than 560,000 buildings at about 500 sites around the globe. These locations are vital to the operations of the American military, as the Pentagon explains, "In many ways, installation energy supports warfighter requirements through secure and resilient sources of commercial electrical energy, and where applicable, energy generation and storage, to support mission loads, power projection platforms, remotely piloted aircraft operations, intelligence support, and cyber operations."

Then, of course, is the actual fighting and the energy that takes. This remaining 70% of DOD energy use is termed "operational" and refers to the actual use of planes, ships, and vehicles. Most of these aren't made to be fuel efficient, and some aircraft require multiple gallons of jet fuel to move a single nautical mile.

To these numbers you should also add the emissions created by the manufacture of war materials, if we presume that military industry has the same share of emissions as it does the manufacturing sector as a whole, 15% of all manufacturing jobs in the United States, then from 2001 to 2017 2,600 million megatons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions were attributable to military industry.

The ironic trap this creates

Video link: https://bigthink.com/politics-curren...es?jwsource=cl

One of the stated goals of the United States military over the last few decades has been keeping the world oil supply stable. This has been achieved through a series of wars, constant patrolling of international shipping lanes, and a substantial show of force in troubled areas of the world that produce petroleum.

And no, this isn't a conspiracy theory dreamed up by some tree hugging hippie. In 1990, the Bush administration issued National Security Directive 45 stating that "U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf are vital to the national security. These interests include access to oil and the security and stability of key friendly states in the region." The second Bush administration expressed a similar sentiment, one which is shared by many experts on national security.

This means that the United States military is using more oil than anybody else in part to make sure that the supply of oil remains secure. The irony of this isn't lost on the author, who frames the problem as such:

"The U.S. has an important public policy decision to make. Do we continue to orient our foreign policy and military force posture toward ensuring access to fossil fuels? Or do we dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels, including the military's own dependency, and thus reduce the perceived need to preserve access to oil resources?"

They suggest that a reduction of fossil fuel use by the military would have "enormous positive implications for the climate," save a fortune, help prevent climate change-related threats, and reduce the need for American soldiers to be in the Middle East at all.

The seriousness of the problem isn't lost on the brass. Dozens of installations are already dealing with climate change induced drought, flooding, wildfires, and desertification and are being equipped to do so. The Navy is working on how to deal with rising sea levels and what effect that might have on current installations. The need for so much fuel also creates supply issues and convoys which are vulnerable to attack, so programs to cut down on fuel use have been enacted.

Several programs exist to cut down on greenhouse emissions in each branch of the military, which has successfully reduced the amount of energy used per year over the last few years. The use of hybrid and electric vehicles has been introduced where possible, and the percentage of energy derived from alternative sources, such as renewables or nuclear power, continues to increase. Room for improvement still exists, however.

Big picture, what can we do?

A 2nd link is on site go to the site to view.

Several ideas to escape this ironic trap are suggested in the essay. Chief among them is a critical analysis of how important the mission of protecting oil access really is.

U.S. oil demand peaked in 2005, and dependence on Middle Eastern oil has been in decline since 2006. With it, the need for a steady oil supply from that part of the world has also continued to decline. Even if some crisis did affect the flow of oil, the argument goes, nothing prevents the United States from intervening after the fact. The article also points out that China is more vulnerable to such a shock than the United States is.

The United States military is the greatest war machine ever built. The economic and environmental costs of keeping that machine running are astronomical. The question of if it is a bill we want to continue to pay is one we must repeatedly ask ourselves as security threats evolve and the cost of ecological inaction climb ever higher.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:58 AM
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Arrow The Pentagon Emits More Greenhouse Gases Than Any Other Part of the US Gov't.

The Pentagon Emits More Greenhouse Gases Than Any Other Part of the US Gov't.
By: Neta C. Crawford, Boston University & Live Science - 6-12-19
RE: https://www.livescience.com/65698-de...te-change.html

Scientists and security analysts have warned for more than a decade that global warming is a potential national security concern.

They project that the consequences of global warming rising seas, powerful storms, famine and diminished access to fresh water may make regions of the world politically unstable and prompt mass migration and refugee crises.

Some worry that wars may follow.

Yet with few exceptions, the U.S. military's significant contribution to climate change has received little attention. Although the Defense Department has significantly reduced its fossil fuel consumption since the early 2000s, it remains the world's single largest consumer of oil and as a result, one of the world's top greenhouse gas emitters.

A broad carbon footprint
I have studied war and peace for four decades. But I only focused on the scale of U.S. military greenhouse gas emissions when I began co-teaching a course on climate change and focused on the Pentagon's response to global warming. Yet, the Department of Defense is the U.S. government's largest fossil fuel consumer, accounting for between 77% and 80% of all federal government energy consumption since 2001.

In a newly released study published by Brown University's Costs of War Project, I calculated U.S. military greenhouse gas emissions in tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from 1975 through 2017.

Today China is the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, followed by the United States. In 2017 the Pentagon's greenhouse gas emissions totaled over 59 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. If it were a country, it would have been the world's 55th largest greenhouse gas emitter, with emissions larger than Portugal, Sweden or Denmark.

The largest sources of military greenhouse gas emissions are buildings and fuel. The Defense Department maintains over 560,000 buildings at approximately 500 domestic and overseas military installations, which account for about 40% of its greenhouse gas emissions.

The rest comes from operations. In fiscal year 2016, for instance, the Defense Department consumed about 86 million barrels of fuel for operational purposes.

Why do the armed forces use so much fuel?
Military weapons and equipment use so much fuel that the relevant measure for defense planners is frequently gallons per mile.

Aircraft are particularly thirsty. For example, the B-2 stealth bomber, which holds more than 25,600 gallons of jet fuel, burns 4.28 gallons per mile and emits more than 250 metric tons of greenhouse gas over a 6,000 nautical mile range. The KC-135R aerial refueling tanker consumes about 4.9 gallons per mile.

A single mission consumes enormous quantities of fuel. In January 2017, two B-2B bombers and 15 aerial refueling tankers traveled more than 12,000 miles from Whiteman Air Force Base to bomb ISIS targets in Libya, killing about 80 suspected ISIS militants. Not counting the tankers' emissions, the B-2s emitted about 1,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

Quantifying military emissions
Calculating the Defense Department's greenhouse gas emissions isn't easy. The Defense Logistics Agency tracks fuel purchases, but the Pentagon does not consistently report DOD fossil fuel consumption to Congress in its annual budget requests.

The Department of Energy publishes data on DOD energy production and fuel consumption, including for vehicles and equipment. Using fuel consumption data, I estimate that from 2001 through 2017, the DOD, including all service branches, emitted 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases. That is the rough equivalent of driving of 255 million passenger vehicles over a year.

Of that total, I estimated that war-related emissions between 2001 and 2017, including "overseas contingency operations" in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, generated over 400 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent roughly equivalent to the greenhouse emissions of almost 85 million cars in one year.

Real and present dangers?
The Pentagon's core mission is to prepare for potential attacks by human adversaries. Analysts argue about the likelihood of war and the level of military preparation necessary to prevent it, but in my view, none of the United States' adversaries Russia, Iran, China and North Korea are certain to attack the United States.

Nor is a large standing military the only way to reduce the threats these adversaries pose. Arms control and diplomacy can often de-escalate tensions and reduce threats. Economic sanctions can diminish the capacity of states and nonstate actors to threaten the security interests of the U.S. and its allies.

In contrast, climate change is not a potential risk. It has begun, with real consequences to the United States. Failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will make the nightmare scenarios strategists warn against perhaps even "climate wars" more likely.


A case for decarbonizing the military
Over the past last decade the Defense Department has reduced its fossil fuel consumption through actions that include using renewable energy, weatherizing buildings and reducing aircraft idling time on runways.

The DOD's total annual emissions declined from a peak of 85 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2004 to 59 million metric tons in 2017. The goal, as then-General James Mattis put it, is to be "unleashed from the tether of fuel" by decreasing military dependence on oil and oil convoys that are vulnerable to attack in war zones.

Since 1979, the United States has placed a high priority on protecting access to the Persian Gulf. About one-fourth of military operational fuel use is for the U.S. Central Command, which covers the Persian Gulf region.

As national security scholars have argued, with dramatic growth in renewable energy and diminishing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, it is possible for Congress and the president to rethink our nation's military missions and reduce the amount of energy the armed forces use to protect access to Middle East oil.

I agree with the military and national security experts who contend that climate change should be front and center in U.S. national security debates. Cutting Pentagon greenhouse gas emissions will help save lives in the United States, and could diminish the risk of climate conflict.

About this writer: Neta C. Crawford, Professor of Political Science and Department Chair, Boston University
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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