Tag Archive | "US military"

US Military Is a Bigger Polluter than as Many as 140 Countries – Shrinking this War Machine Is a Must


The US military’s carbon bootprint is enormous. Like corporate supply chains, it relies upon an extensive global network of container ships, trucks and cargo planes to supply its operations with everything from bombs to humanitarian aid and hydrocarbon fuels. Our new study calculated the contribution of this vast infrastructure to climate change.

Greenhouse gas emission accounting usually focuses on how much energy and fuel civilians use. But recent work, including our own, shows that the US military is one of the largest polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more climate-changing gases than most medium-sized countries. If the US military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, sitting between Peru and Portugal.

In 2017, the US military bought about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide by burning those fuels. The US Air Force purchased US$4.9 billion worth of fuel, and the navy US$2.8 billion, followed by the army at US$947m and the Marines at US$36m.

It’s no coincidence that US military emissions tend to be overlooked in climate change studies. It’s very difficult to get consistent data from the Pentagon and across US government departments. In fact, the United States insisted on an exemption for reporting military emissions in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. This loophole was closed by the Paris Accord, but with the Trump administration due to withdraw from the accord in 2020, this gap will will return.

Our study is based on data retrieved from multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to the US Defense Logistics Agency, the massive bureaucratic agency tasked with managing the US military’s supply chains, including its hydrocarbon fuel purchases and distribution.

The US military has long understood that it isn’t immune from the potential consequences of climate change – recognising it as a “threat multiplier” that can exacerbate other risks. Many, though not all, military bases have been preparing for climate change impacts like sea level rise. Nor has the military ignored its own contribution to the problem. As we have previously shown, the military has invested in developing alternative energy sources like biofuels, but these comprise only a tiny fraction of spending on fuels.

The American military’s climate policy remains contradictory. There have been attempts to “green” aspects of its operations by increasing renewable electricity generation on bases, but it remains the single largest institutional consumer of hydrocarbons in the world. It has also locked itself into hydrocarbon-based weapons systems for years to come, by depending on existing aircraft and warships for open-ended operations.

Not green, but less, military

Climate change has become a hot-button topic on the campaign trail for the 2020 presidential election. Leading Democratic candidates, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, and members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are calling for major climate initiatives like the Green New Deal. For any of that to be effective, the US military’s carbon footprint must be addressed in domestic policy and international climate treaties.

Our study shows that action on climate change demands shuttering vast sections of the military machine. There are few activities on Earth as environmentally catastrophic as waging war. Significant reductions to the Pentagon’s budget and shrinking its capacity to wage war would cause a huge drop in demand from the biggest consumer of liquid fuels in the world.

It does no good tinkering around the edges of the war machine’s environmental impact. The money spent procuring and distributing fuel across the US empire could instead be spent as a peace dividend, helping to fund a Green New Deal in whatever form it might take. There are no shortage of policy priorities that could use a funding bump. Any of these options would be better than fuelling one of the largest military forces in history.

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‘US military lost track of $1bn worth of weapons’


NOVANEWS

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Press TV

The US military has admitted to losing track of around $1 billion worth of weapons in Iraq and Kuwait, according to a US Defense Department audit reviewed by Amnesty International.

In the September 2016 document, which was obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, the Pentagon stated that it “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of a large amount of weapons it had moved into Iraq and Kuwait to arm the Iraqi government forces, Amnesty reported Wednesday.

The transfers were part of the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF) program and following appropriation by Congress of $1.6 billion to allegedly stop Daesh (ISIL)’s advances in 2015.

The items included tens of thousands of assault rifles worth $28 million, hundreds of mortar rounds and hundreds of Humvee armored vehicles.

The Pentagon audit found that personnel in charge of tracking the ITEF weapons often logged them “across multiple spreadsheets, databases and even on hand-written receipts.”

The faulty records-keeping also meant that people in charge of locating the weapons or determining their status would not be able to do so.

According to the document, the Pentagon had no responsibility for tracking the items after handing them over to Iraqi authorities.

This amounts to a clear violation of the department’s own Golden Sentry program, which requires the Pentagon to perform post-delivery checks.

Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty’s arms control and human rights researcher, said the government audit shows how “flawed – and potentially dangerous” the US military’s controlling mechanisms are for overseeing the transfer of weapons in a “hugely volatile region.”

“It makes for especially sobering reading given the long history of leakage of US arms to multiple armed groups committing atrocities in Iraq,” including Daesh (ISIL), he added.

“The need for post-delivery checks is vital. Any fragilities along the transfer chain greatly increase the risks of weapons going astray in a region where armed groups have wrought havoc and caused immense human suffering,”  Wilcken further argued.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said June last year that of the thousands of armored vehicles supplied by the US to Iraqi security forces, some 2,300 or two-thirds of them had fallen into the hands ISIL and the group was turning them into moving bombs.

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