Thursday, July 23, 2015

What Is The Carbon Footprint Of U.S. Bombs? #PentagonClimateCrime

What is the relationship between militarism and climate change? One of secrecy, mostly. The Pentagon is not going to divulge the amount of CO2 or other greenhouse gases produced when it bombs Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or anywhere else it pleases. 

The Pentagon may occasionally acknowledge how much fuel they are using when assessing whether the supply will keep flowing, but if they're counting the pollution produced by their bombs and the resultant fires they're not sharing it with the rest of us.

Smoke rises over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the town of Suruc. KAI PFAFFENBACH/REUTERS
Source:  NEWSWEEK "U.S. Leads 15 airstrikes against isis in iraq and syria" by Polly Mosendz
Others who want to quantify this climate threat face formidable obstacles. Mike Berners-Lee and Duncan Clark reported in a 2010 reckoning of the carbon footprint of the Iraq war in The Guardian:
All carbon footprints are virtually impossible to pin down accurately, and this is especially the case for something as complex and chaotic as war. Indeed, the best that can be done in this case is to give some very crude numbers to provide a sense of scale.
At the time of writing the financial cost of the US military operation in Iraq since 2003 has been estimated at $1.3 trillion, with a further $600 billion anticipated for the lifetime healthcare costs of injured troops. Extrapolating from the carbon intensity of the health and defence industries in the UK, it's possible to have a rough stab at converting this expenditure into carbon. This approach suggests that the US military operation in Iraq may have clocked up around 160–500 million tonnes of CO2e, plus a further 80 million tonnes for the healthcare of troops. 
Add on a few per cent to both numbers to include the coalition forces and, say, another 1% for the footprint of the much more poorly resourced insurgency, and we might be looking at 250–600 million tonnes... And that's excluding the direct emissions from explosions. [emphasis mine]
Photo: Ellen Davidson
SOURCE: "Carbon Bomb Blows Up Near West Point" by Tools for Action on Popular Resistance blog Sep. 14,2014
I will continue looking for data that quantifies the Pentagon's climate crimes, and for people who will help do the maths as the British say. 

Ancient Greek author Aeschylus is the earliest cited source of the meme,"In war, truth is the first casualty." It's usually construed to mean that propaganda to whip up pro-war sentiment among the populace will make false claims i.e. the existence of Iraq's phantom weapons of mass destruction. But it could also mean concealing the truth about something people care deeply about -- namely, CO2 emissions and their effect on climate change -- while claiming that national security takes priority over the public's need to know.

But continuing to conceal the truth about the Pentagon's unregulated carbon pollution could eventually result in a massive casualty: life on Earth.


Anonymous said...

The direct footprint of the Pentagon is only part of the US military footprint.

The environmental footprint made by the war merchants who produce and supply
weapons and materials to the Pentagon should be included in the total.
Although the size of footprint can now only be estimated, it should be pointed out
that it is a glaring omission not to include it.
A singular focus on the carbon footprint also omits the other nuclear, chemical, biological,
and other kinds of environmental degradation and mayhem caused directly by the Pentagon,
and indirectly by its suppliers.

Lisa Savage said...

You are right, and any data you can share would be much appreciated. Here is my explanation of why I'm choosing to focus my communications on this particular aspect of Pentagon-induced climate change:

Anonymous said...

No offense, but what are your credentials?

Lisa Savage said...

No offense taken. Are you asking about my CV or level of education or?