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War and its Climate Crimes

August 19, 2009

Global Warming is a massive issue right! So what about all these wars going on throughout the world. What kind of effect is that having on the planet? In this post I will be focussing on the Iraq war and how that is contributing to Global Warming. I will use the USA’s involvement in the war and related data to point out how war may be accelerating Climate Change.

We seem to have wars for everything at the moment. We have a war on terror, war on crime, war on drugs, war on global warming. The thing is, this so called war on terror which is creating a load of wars is having a massive effect on the war on global warming, does this mean we need a war on the war on global warming to make the war on terror eco friendly? First of all let me just say making war eco friendly is no solution to any of these problems.

Ok so all these wars are not only killing thousands of people directly but also contributing massively to global warming, which has the potential to kill or at least displace millions more. We will discuss all that in another post.

So how much CO2 (the stuff which is creating Global warming and Climate Change) does something like the Iraq war generate?

Well between March 2003 and March 2008 the war was responsible for at least 141 million tons of CO2. Now that sounds a lot doesn’t it, but how much is that really? How about 25 million more cars on the road. Or, if it were a country it would generate about the same amount of CO2 as New Zealand.  Or more than 100 million return flights between London and New York. So if nothing more, stopping the war could offset a lot of shopping trips in either city. (Now that’s an economy booster).

Now this war is generating a lot of CO2 and to do that it needs to use a whole load of fossil fuels. 4 billion gallons of fuel to be precise (that’s how much the US military has purchased).  Burning these fuels has directly produced nearly 39 million metric tons of CO2. But hold on how does all that fuel get to where it needs to be. Yes you got it; it takes fuel to deliver fuel. In fact transporting fuel uses about the same amount than is actually delivered. Therefore your can double the above figure to about 90 million tons of CO2. With one of the major factors of wars being fossil fuels it seems completely outrages that the fight for the fuel is using so much.

Throughout the Iraq war there have been many cases of oil well fires and pipeline bombings. This dramatically increases the amount of carbon emissions. It is estimated that since 2003 these fires have emitted 15 million tons of CO2.

There are also many unquantifiable emissions created from war. These are things like the development and deployment of explosives and chemicals. Not to mention the fact than when you blow things up, they need to be rebuilt. This uses a lot of cement, which in its production is one of the world’s largest emitters of CO2.

Ok so that’s a lot of CO2 being created. Now, to do all of this the US government has had to spend a whole lot of cash. In 2008 it broke the $600 billion mark. Now can you imagine what could happen if that money was spent on renewable energy research and development. After all in 2006 the US spent more on the Iraq war than the entire world spent on investment in renewable energy. (http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/future-investment.pdf) That’s hard for me to get my head round. Renewable energy is something that will positively effect us all, how is it that one war is worth more than that!

That $600 billion could have been used to build 9000 wind farms. That’s would be enough to generate 25% of the USA’s energy needs. Imagine that. Stop wasting oil on the war and getting 25% of energy from a renewable source. Try passing that through congress. I don’t think they’ll go for it, it makes too much sense.

Obama has committed to spending $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of green energy technology and infrastructure. Now that is fantastic, but if you consider the US spends nearly that much on the war in Iraq in just 10 months, (http://change.gov/agenda/economy_agenda) its clear that there is not enough focus on a sustainable future.

So as you can see, war is not only a mindless money eating killing machine but it has massive byproducts. One of which is a huge contribution to Global Warming.

Now, I focused on the USA and their involvement in the Iraq war, but I am in no way saying this is the only war or the only country committing these climate crimes. Every war and every country involved in a war is having a negative effect on the planet. What if ‘climate crime’ became an international offense. So individuals, corporations and governments could be tried for causing inexcusable and avoidable ‘climate crimes’. Climate crime could become a war crime and added to the 1996 war crimes act. Governments and leaders found guilty of this crime will have to repay the climate debt through carbon offset or passing new sustainable energy bills. If they have money for war they must have money to develop a sustainable future. Ok so I went off on a tangent. But you get the idea.

Just a imagine a world where all countries followed Costa Rica’s lead and stopped investing in armies and put the money towards nature conservation. This would be a true Global solution to Global Warming.

Thanks for reading.

Ed

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Summer Banks permalink
    August 19, 2009 11:45 pm

    Amazing connection between the war on terror and the war on global warming. Thank you for visiting my EcoLifeBlog.

    Summer

  2. August 19, 2009 3:51 pm

    Thanks eskatologik for your comment. There are many points of view on this topic. I would suggest you a have a read about feedback loops. Simply, there is a trigger for global warming, this can be anything which begins the warming effect. This turns carbon sinks (like permafrost under Russian forests) ito carbon emitters. As they emit more carbon it accelerates the heating process, which in turn speeds up the rate in which they emit carbon. This is called a feedback loop.
    55 million years ago, a trigger caused a severe episode of runaway global warming. 500 million years ago a trigger caused a very bad episode of global warming that killed 90% of the life on earth.
    Mankind is emitting CO2 faster than either of these periods. Now this is only one idea explaining your Specific CO2 and temperature point. There are countless amounts of research proving that humans are having a negative effect on the planet. Its time for us to start taking responsibility for our actions and forget about the idea that we can do whatever we like without effect. Simply put every action has an equal and opposite reaction. What ever we do, it effects something else.

    Thanks for reading.
    ed

    • eskatologik permalink
      September 23, 2009 6:25 am

      Brother Ed,
      Your response, surprisingly gentle and friendly, gives me hope. I am not an advocate for doing whatever without recourse–quite the contrary. I am aware the Reality is grounded in cause and effect.
      However, I might suggest that the data, historically, shows that CO2 levels follow periods of warming, however and whenever the warming occurred. Furthermore, no man-made climate change advocate can answer for me why, in fact, other planets in the Solar System have also warmed during the previous decade. It is also noteworthy (as I write this on day 52 of no sun-spot activity–a record over the last century) that the global climate is actually cooling at present.
      It is clear that you are fully cogent on much data. I would just like to offer some balance, as it were.
      Peace and grace,
      e

      • eskatologik permalink
        September 23, 2009 6:26 am

        my bad, I neglected to read what I had written before…lol

  3. eskatologik permalink
    August 19, 2009 6:43 am

    Do you really think that humankind can change something as monumental as the climate? This is the height of idiocy and arrogance, isn’t it?

    The fact is that CO2 levels rise following temperature rises, up to decades later. Don’t buy into the wolves lies, or you will be a lamb-sandwich.

    May you find Truth.

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