Monday, August 30, 2021

The Guns of August



This title seems appropriate, given that it's the name of a book that examines the historic factors leading to the start of WWI.

The IPCC report is a dire warning delivered with an urgency not expressed in previous reports. The key to climate politics is guaranteeing fossil fuel workers no loss in salary as sustainable energy replaces carbon-based fuel – and this would cost “a pittance” says Robert Pollin on the with Paul Jay:

"The U.S. military is the global largest emitter of emissions. The point being, that to finance scale-level investments in a new clean energy economy, which is — and I take that as part of the sixth assessment report. I think it’s more emphasized in that one than prior ones. That is the first project. We can talk about all kinds of new fancy things. But unless we’re willing to cut carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels and transforming into a clean energy system, then there’s nothing really else that we can do.

So we have to stop burning oil, coal, natural gas, and we use the technologies we have that work fine. That is renewable energy and efficiency."

An analysis published by The Conversation in June of 2019 reveals the scope of the US military impact on 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."

"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."

Another report from about the same time out of Brown University, "Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War", digs into the climate pollution from the U.S. Department of Defence (DOD). This includes the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and other defence agencies. This report is used to compare the emissions from the DOD to the computed emissions projected from the Alberta oilsands.

"This chart also lets you see how the oilsands’ pollution surge has accelerated over time. The oilsands added a half tonne per Canadian in the 15 years up to 2005. Then the industry added twice as much climate pollution per Canadian over the next 12 years.

As a result, the oilsands industry is now a ten times greater climate burden for each Canadian, than the U.S. military is per American."

So the US Military is now eclipsed by Canada's oilsands in Alberta, another massive source of carbon emissions that are not included in the computations for emissions and per capita assignments. This is a very, very serious issue that somehow never gets on the table. Without accurate accounting for all fossil fuel emissions, it's nearly impossible to create an accurate carbon framework back at the UN level. And thus all efforts come to naught.