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Wed Nov 18, 2015, 06:48 AM

The Hidden Villain of Global Warming—The Pentagon

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Common Dreams
The Hidden Villain of Global Warming—The Pentagon
by
Gar Smith

.......snip.........

From November 30 to December 11, delegates from more than 190 nations will convene in Paris to address the increasingly visible threats of climate disruption. The 21st Conference of the Parties (aka COP21) is expected to draw 25,000 official delegates intent on crafting a legally binding pact to keep global warming below 2°C.

But it is difficult to imagine the delegates reaching this goal when one of the largest contributors to global-warming has no intention of agreeing to reduce its pollution. The problem in this case is neither China nor the United States. Instead, the culprit is the Pentagon.

The Pentagon occupies 6,000 bases in the US and more than 1,000 bases (the exact number is disputed) in 60-plus foreign countries. According to its FY 2010 Base Structure Report, the Pentagon's global empire includes more than 539,000 facilities at 5,000 sites covering more than 28 million acres.



The Pentagon has admitted to burning 350,000 barrels of oil a day (only 35 countries in the world consume more) but that doesn't include oil burned by contractors and weapons suppliers. It does, however, include providing fuel for more than 28,000 armored vehicles, thousands of helicopters, hundreds of jet fighters and bombers and vast fleets of Navy vessels. The Air Force accounts for about half of the Pentagon’s operational energy consumption, followed by the Navy (33%) and Army (15%). In 2012, oil accounted for nearly 80% of the Pentagon's energy consumption, followed by electricity, natural gas and coal.

Ironically, most of the Pentagon's oil is consumed in operations directed at protecting America's access to foreign oil and maritime shipping lanes. In short, the consumption of oil relies on consuming more oil. This is not a sustainable energy model.

The amount of oil burned—and the burden of smoke released—increases whenever the Pentagon goes to war. (Indeed, human history's most combustible mix may well prove to be oil and testosterone.) Oil Change International estimates the Pentagon's 2003-2007 $2 trillion Iraq War generated more than three million metric tons of CO2 pollution per month.

Yet, despite being the planet's single greatest institutional consumer of fossil fuels, the Pentagon has been granted a unique exemption from reducing—or even reporting—its pollution.

The US won this prize during the 1998 Kyoto Protocol negotiations (COP4) after the Pentagon insisted on a "national security provision" that would place its operations beyond global scrutiny or control. As Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat recalled: "Every requirement the Defense Department and uniformed military who were at Kyoto by my side said they wanted, they got." (Also exempted from pollution regulation: all Pentagon weapons testing, military exercises, NATO operations and "peacekeeping" missions.)

After winning this concession, however, the US Senate refused to ratify the Kyoto Accord, the House amended the Pentagon budget to ban any "restriction of armed forces under the Kyoto Protocol," and George W. Bush rejected the entire climate treaty because it "would cause serious harm to the US economy" (by which he clearly meant the U.S. oil and gas industries).

Today, the Pentagon consumes one percent of all the country's oil and around 80 percent of all the oil burned by federal government. President Barack Obama recently received praise for his Executive Order requiring federal agencies to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, but Obama's EO specifically exempted the Pentagon from having to report its contribution to climate chaos. (As a practical matter, the Pentagon has been forced to act. With battlefield gas costing $400 a gallon and naval bases at risk of flooding from rising seas, the Pentagon managed to trim its domestic greenhouse-gas emissions by 9 percent between 2008-2012 and hopes to achieve a 34 percent reduction by 2020.)

According to recent exposés, Exxon executives knew the company's products were stoking global temperatures but they opted to put "profits before planet" and conspired to secretly finance three decades of deception. Similarly, the Pentagon has been well aware that its operations were wrecking our planetary habitat.

In 2014, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel identified climate change as a "threat multiplier" that will endanger national security by increasing "global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict." As far back as 2001, Pentagon strategists have been preparing to capitalize on the problem by planning for "ice-free" operations in the Arctic—in anticipation of US-Russian conflicts over access to polar oil.

The Pentagon's role in weather disruption needs to become part of the climate discussion. Oil barrels and gun barrels both pose a threat to our survival. If we hope to stabilize our climate, we will need to start spending less money on war.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/11/17/hidden-villain-global-warming-pentagon


(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Bold for emphasis is my own.)


Just one more reason to fight for peace, not oil.




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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Hidden Villain of Global Warming—The Pentagon (Original post)
RiverLover Nov 2015 OP
Demeter Nov 2015 #1
Wilms Nov 2015 #3
RiverLover Nov 2015 #5
monicaangela Nov 2015 #9
RiverLover Nov 2015 #11
femmedem Nov 2015 #2
RiverLover Nov 2015 #6
Martin Eden Nov 2015 #4
monicaangela Nov 2015 #7
RiverLover Nov 2015 #12
FlatBaroque Nov 2015 #8
monicaangela Nov 2015 #10
RiverLover Nov 2015 #13
zomgitsjesus Nov 2015 #14
RiverLover Nov 2015 #15
monicaangela Nov 2015 #16

Response to RiverLover (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 06:51 AM

1. Playing a little fast and loose with the numbers there, aren't we?

 

"6,000 bases in the US and more than 1,000 bases (the exact number is disputed) in 60-plus foreign countries"


It would take armed forces much larger than US to fill that many bases. Unless you've totally bought into that "army of one" PR.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 07:05 AM

3. Maybe not. "Sites" maybe the term, not bases.

 

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Response to Demeter (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 07:07 AM

5. This article from 2013 lists it as 4000 in the US

Picking Up a $170 Billion Tab

How U.S. Taxpayers Are Paying the Pentagon to Occupy the Planet


.......They’re among the more than 1,000 bases the United States uses to ring the globe (with about 4,000 more in the 50 states and Washington, D.C.). This complex of military installations, unprecedented in history, has been a major, if little noticed, aspect of U.S. power since World War II.........

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-vine/military-spending_b_2277273.html


This must include all military facilities of all kinds, not just military bases.

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Response to RiverLover (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 08:06 AM

9. I remember reading that article

I find it really sad that the people of this nation are willing to allow congress to waste these vast amounts of money while the citizens they are supposed to be protecting go hungry, sleep in the streets, have little to no healthcare and suffer more and more from a lack of jobs, or jobs that do not pay well enough for them to be able to sustain themselves in a manner that respects their humanity, well, at least not all of us, there are winners and losers in this system. It still amazes me though how the people of this nation have not demanded better treatment for themselves and their fellow citizens.

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Response to monicaangela (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 08:14 AM

11. Beautifully stated. I couldn't agree more.

I feel proud to be a fellow progressive along with you.

All it would take is the media focusing on the military spending problem for a few weeks. Sadly. Our nation of sheep. That's what it would take though, for people to finally wake up. Doesn't look like it will ever happen.

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Response to RiverLover (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 06:53 AM

2. Thank you for posting this. I sure would like to hear our candidates address this. n/t

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Response to femmedem (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 07:12 AM

6. I would like to hear it addressed as well. Bernie brought up how terrorism is linked to climate

disruption (very brave of him!), so who knows. Maybe it will be.

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Response to RiverLover (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 07:05 AM

4. Our military machine is "securing" less oil than it consumes.

The MIC is an end unto itself.

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Response to RiverLover (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 07:58 AM

7. Excellent article, especially the bold emphasis added sections.

Thank you for posting this RiverLover, it is an aspect of global warming that I have to admit I hadn't really paid too much attention to. It makes a lot of sense when you stop to think about it. We are in effect killing ourselves by trying to keep ourselves "safe." I of course never once in my life thought the Pentagon and the war machine the U.S. government commands is for the sole purpose of keeping us safe...more along the lines of keeping the property of the Oligarchs safe. I truly hope people will read this article both here and at commondreams, and that their reading it will make them reconsider fighting for peace and a reduction in global reach by our government, global reach that appears to be causing war and destruction rather than preventing it.

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Response to monicaangela (Reply #7)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 08:21 AM

12. "global reach that appears to be causing war and destruction rather than preventing it."

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Response to RiverLover (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 08:04 AM

8. The transfer of wealth requires a vehicle

the US military is that vehicle.

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Response to FlatBaroque (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 08:13 AM

10. Spot on FlatBaroque

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.

I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.

I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912.

I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916.

I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903.

In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

― Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier

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Response to monicaangela (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 08:22 AM

13. Wow.

I'm speechless. And not proud to be an American.

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Response to RiverLover (Original post)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 08:23 AM

14. True story...

When I was in the Navy I flew in P3C as an ASW Operator. When in the states we would train/drill constantly and one of the drills you had to go through every so often was emergency fuel jettison. Well at the end of the fiscal year, the military in all it's efficiency has to use up every last dollar for training, fuel, supplies so that the next year they would be allocated enough. This of course lays the way for massive waste. So one of our things at the end of the fiscal year was each crew would fly loaded with fuel, go offshore (Maine) and begin dumping fuel. This helped to use up our remaining allocation for fuel but it also contaminated the ocean/air and wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds of fuel.

So not only do we have the largest defense budget ever, we get nothing for much of it.

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Response to zomgitsjesus (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 08:30 AM

15. Jeezus. That's just so so messed up.

Thanks for sharing it, even though it turns my stomach.

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Response to zomgitsjesus (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 18, 2015, 08:40 AM

16. I believe you zomgitsjesus

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