“The Romans did in these instances what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable; for it happens in this, as the physicians say it happens in hectic fever, that at the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure. Thus it happens in affairs of state, for when the evils that arise have been foreseen, they can be quickly redressed, but when, through not having been foreseen, they have been permitted to grow in a way that everyone can see them, there is no longer a remedy.” Niccolo Machiavelli, Chapter 3, The Prince, in a discussion of the foreign policy of the Roman Republic
We are a nation addicted to oil and addicted to war. From the beginning of the War on Terror to 2017, the Pentagon generated at least 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases.
Just two and a half short years ago we had a President who understood the threat to the world from the climate crisis. Obama, of course, had to deal with a recalcitrant GOP controlled congress, so progress only went so far. They blocked every single green issue in Department of Defense plans to transition to a green energy future. Amid all of the obstruction, the Pentagon pushed forward with green energy anyways.
Then 2016 happened. A President was elected with significant aid from our nations largest adversary. The war on solutions to the climate crisis and boosting carbon emissions began. The fossil fuel interests and the military complex rejoiced.
Vanity Fair pens an article on why Trump and his cronies should be sent to the Haque for crimes against Humanity.
Bess Levin of Vanity Fair writes a convincing indictment, that in my opinion, Trump should be sent to the Haque for crimes against humanity.
In the 476 months that he’s been in office, Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that he would like the earth to die in a fire—literally. In that time he has abandoned the Paris climate agreement; unveiled a proposal to freeze rules on planet-warming pollution from cars and trucks; claimed wind turbines aren’t a viable source of energy because the sound they make “causes cancer”; and hired a guy who believes carbon dioxide has been demonized like “Jews under Hitler” to discredit the findings of 13 federal agencies that increased levels of CO2 pose a national emergency. But it was only today that his pièce de résistance, when it comes to letting climate change really rip, was officially put into place.
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.
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 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.
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 climate change and examining its plans for the future.
From Rolling Stone:
The IMF found that direct and indirect subsidies for coal, oil and gas in the U.S. reached $649 billion in 2015. Pentagon spending that same year was $599 billion.
Oil, gas and coal companies — and their stooges in public office — have long argued that making consumers pay for the full impacts of fossil fuel use would cripple the economy. The IMF experts call bullshit on this idea, revealing that the world would, in fact, be more prosperous. Eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels would have created global “net economic welfare gains” in 2015 of “more than $1.3 trillion, or 1.7 percent of global GDP,” the study found. (These net gains are “calculated as the benefits from reduced environmental damage and higher revenue minus the losses from consumers facing higher energy prices.”)
For the United States, the $649 billion in fossil fuel subsidies exceeded even the extravagant amount of money the country spent on defense. To offer a sense of scale, Pentagon spending accounted for 54 percent of the discretionary federal budget in 2015. In comparison to another important, but less well-funded part of the federal budget, fossil fuel subsidies were nearly 10 times what Congress spent on education. Broken down to an individual level, fossil fuel subsidies cost every man, woman and child in the United States $2,028 that year.
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