Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to Gizmodo, as the USA switches away from fossil fuel there will no longer be a need for a US military presence in global hotspots.
Climate Change Can’t Be an Excuse for More Militarisation
Published 1 day ago: January 29, 2021 at 5:14 am-Filed to: BUSINESS_FINANCE
On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden signed a suite of executive orders on climate policy, including one that enshrines climate change as a key consideration for American foreign policy and national security.
But though the climate crisis is not the fault of any single person or entity, it is not exactly actorless. The U.S. is responsible for more historical greenhouse gas pollution than any other country, and is currently the second largest emitter after China. The country’s military is the largest institutional greenhouse gas polluter in the world and largest consumer of fossil fuels in the federal government, using as much oil and gas as the entire country of the Netherlands.
Neta Crawford, a political scientist at Boston University who authored a groundbreaking 2019 report on the military’s gargantuan carbon footprint, said the directive is “a good first step.” But ultimately, the Department of Defence must make bolder moves to draw down emissions.
“We have to demilitarize,” she said.
“Climate change can lead to conflict and war, but war, we know, also promotes climate change,” she said. “So we can’t fight climate change as a threat with more and more military spending, [leading to] more greenhouse gas emissions from the military.”
If more resources are allocated for the Department of Defence specifically, there is also the question of accountability.
He noted that the Pentagon has failed several budget audits in recent years, and that the Department of Defence has a history of misallocating funds to simply increase military supplies. For instance, in March, the Pentagon received $US1 ($1) billion from the nation’s covid-19 stimulus bill to respond to the pandemic, but it diverted most of those funds to defence contractors to produce items such as parts for jet engines and armour.
Integrating climate concerns into foreign policy, Crawford said, should include letting go of the use of force to protect fossil fuels for American use. As the country increases its renewable energy capacity, it should lower its use of oil. That would decrease the need for military operations to safeguard it abroad in places like the Middle East. This would not only avoid the carbon pollution caused by using that oil, it would also avoid the emissions associated with the aircrafts and tanks used in guarding it.
Read more: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2021/01/climate-change-cant-be-an-excuse-for-more-militarization/
What I love about this kind of academic fantasy is they talk about their vision of a future in which the USA no longer needs an overseas military presence in the Persian Gulf and other hotspots as if it was a near term certainty, as if the USA can start withdrawing from vital energy trade routes right now.
It will be interesting to see how the Biden administration responds to this idea of climate motivated military drawdown. The Obama administration started lots of wars. If Biden follows in Obama’s footsteps, the Pentagon might need to order a lot more of those replacement jet engines and armour.
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