[pjw] INFO: US military has the carbon footprint to prove fuel dependency (Street Roots 2/14)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Mar 24 19:44:12 EDT 2020

Hello PJW supporters

We hope everyone is staying safe and informed during these days of crisis.

As noted in our emails around the anniversary of the Iraq war, the wars 
have not stopped for the pandemic so sadly our work must continue.

Below is an article from over a month ago written by friend to PJW Martin 
Hart Landsberg for Street Roots. We talked about it at our meeting 2 weeks 
ago and I said I would forward this to everyone as it echoes the work 
we've been doing connecting climate change to militarism.

We will also continue to get you more up-to-date news in the coming weeks 
and months.

Also for now our next Iraq Affinity Group meeting is still set for Monday 
April 13, but it's likely to be in the form of a conference call, more 
details to come.
dan handelman
peace and justice works

U.S. military depends on fuel - and has the carbon footprint to prove it
     Street Roots
     COMMENTARY | As the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world,
     America's military must be reined in
     by Martin Hart-Landsberg | 14 Feb 2020

     Climate change is happening, highlighted by dramatically shifting
     weather patterns and ever more deadly storms, floods, droughts and
     wildfires. And the evidence is overwhelming that it is driven by the
     steady increase in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere produced by our
     fossil fuel-based economic system.

     Aware of global warming's deadly consequences, millions of people have
     taken to the streets to demand action to end our use of fossil fuels as
     part of a systemwide transformation that would also ensure a just
     transition for all communities and workers.

     However, the largest generator of greenhouse gas emissions continues to
     fly above the clouds and largely out of public view. As Neta Crawford,
     co-director of Brown University's Costs of War Project, points out,
     "the (U.S.) Department of Defense is the world's largest institutional
     user of petroleum and, correspondingly, the single largest producer of
     greenhouse gases in the world."

Flying above the clouds

     We know that we have an enormous military budget. U.S. military
     spending is greater than the total military spending of the next seven
     countries combined: China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, United
     Kingdom, and Germany. The budget of the Department of Defense alone
     commands more than half of all U.S. federal discretionary spending each

     This kind of information is readily available. The military's
     contribution to global warming is not. One reason is that because of
     U.S. government pressure, the governments negotiating the 1992 Kyoto
     Protocol agreed that emissions generated by military activity would not
     count as national emissions and would not have to be reported. As a
     consequence, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which
     produces one of the world's most trusted reports on the rate at which
     climate change is occurring, does not include national military
     emissions in its calculations.

    Martin Hart-Landsberg

   Uncovering the carbon costs of the U.S. military

     Although the military does not publicly disclose its fuel use, four
     researchers -- Oliver Belcher, Benjamin Neimark, Patrick Bigger and
     Cara Kennelly -- used multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to
     the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to produce solid estimates.

     The DLA is charged with overseeing the supply chain that supports all
     military activities, including its warfighting, peacekeeping and base
     operations. The Defense Logistics Agency-Energy (DLA-E), a unit within
     the DLA, has responsibility for managing the military's energy
     requirements. As Belcher, Neimark, Bigger and Kennelly explain, "the
     DLA-E is the one-stop shop for fueling purchases and contracts within
     the U.S. military both domestically and internationally, and acts as
     the U.S. military's internal market for all consumables, including

     In simple terms, the military needs fuel -- to fly its jets and bombers
     on surveillance or attack missions, to deliver troops and weapons to
     bases and areas of conflict, to power ships on maneuvers, to run the
     vehicles used by patrols and fighting forces, and to maintain base
     operations here and around the world. And because it is the DLA-E that
     secures and distributes the required fuel, the four researchers used
     "Freedom of Information Act requests to compile a database of DLA-E
     records for all known land, sea, and aircraft fuel purchases, as well
     as fuel contracts made with U.S. operators in military posts, camps,
     stations and ship bunkers abroad from FY 2013 to 2017." The resulting
     calculation of total fuel purchases served as the basis for the
     authors' estimate of the military's production of greenhouse gas

   The U.S. military runs on fuel

     The fuel dependence of the U.S. military has dramatically grown over
     time. The main reason is that the military has come to depend ever more
     on airpower to directly threaten or attack its enemies as well as
     support its heavily armored ground forces operating in foreign
     countries. And airpower guzzles fuel.

     For example, the fuel consumption of a B-2 Bomber is 4.28 gallons to
     the mile. That is gallons to the mile, not the more common miles to the
     gallon. The fuel consumption of a F-35A Fighter bomber is 2.37 gallons
     to the mile, and it is 4.9 miles to the gallon for a KC-135R Refueling
     Tanker (loaded with transfer fuel). The military's non-armored vehicles
     are also heavy gas users. The Army's 60,000 HUMVEEs get between 4 and 8
     miles per gallon of diesel fuel.

     Needless to say, an active military will burn through a lot of fuel.
     And as Belcher, Neimark, Bigger and Kennelly point out, the U.S.
     military has indeed been busy: "Between 2015 and 2017, the U.S.
     military was active in 76 countries, including seven countries on the
     receiving end of air/drone strikes, 15 countries with `boots on the
     ground,' 44 overseas military bases and 56 countries receiving
     counter-terrorism training."

   The carbon footprint of the U.S. military

     Belcher, Neimark, Biggerand Kennelly determined that "the U.S. military
     consumes more liquid fuels and emits more carbon-dioxide equivalents
     than many medium-sized countries." The military's 2014 greenhouse gas
     emissions, just from its use of fuel, was roughly equal "to total --
     not just fuel -- emissions from Romania." That year, the U.S. military,
     if considered a country, and again just from its fuel use, would rank
     as the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and not far behind a
     host of other countries.

     The military's ranking would be much higher if its other emissions were
     included, such as from the electricity and food the military consumes.
     And of course, none of this includes the emissions from the many
     corporations engaged in producing weapons for the military.

     One reason that the U.S. military is such a large greenhouse gas
     emitter is that most of its purchased fuel is jet fuel for use by the
     Air Force or Navy. Their planes burn fuel at extremely high altitudes,
     which "produces different kinds of chemical reactions, resulting in
     warming two to four times greater than on the ground."

   The military's response to climate change

     The military is well aware of the dangers of climate change -- in
     contrast to many of our leading politicians. One reason is that it
     threatens its operational readiness. As Crawford explains:

     "In early 2018, the DOD reported that about half of their installations
     had already experienced climate-change-related effects. A year later,
     the DOD reported that the U.S. military is already experiencing the
     effects of global warming at dozens of installations. These include
     recurrent flooding (53 installations), drought (43 installations),
     wildfires (36 installations) and desertification (six installations)."

     But most importantly, the military sees climate change as a threat to
     national security. For years, the military has considered the impact of
     climate change in its defense planning because, as the Office of the
     Director of National Intelligence puts it, "global environmental and
     ecological degradation, as well as climate change, are likely to fuel
     competition for resources, economic distress and social discontent
     through 2019 and beyond." Of course, in planning responses to possible
     climate-generated threats to U.S. interests, the military remains
     committed to strengthening its capacity for action, even though doing
     so adds to the likelihood of greater climate chaos.

     People are right to demand that governments take meaningful and
     immediate steps to stop global warming. And those steps need to include
     significant reductions in military spending as well as overseas bases
     and interventions. Since the military is the single largest producer of
     greenhouse gases in the world, the fight to rein in militarism in this
     country is especially important. As an added benefit, the money freed
     could be put to good use helping to finance the broader systemwide
     transformation required to create an ecologically responsive economy.

     Martin Hart-Landsberg is a professor emeritus of economics at Lewis &
     Clark College. Street Smart Economics is a periodic series written for
     Street Roots by professors emeriti in economics.

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