during the 1991 Gulf War.
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
If the U.S. 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.
refueling off the coast of California.
It's very difficult to get consistent data from the Pentagon and across U.S. government departments. In fact, the United States insisted on an exemption for reporting military emissions in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
This loophole was closed
Paris Accord, but with the
Trump administration due to withdraw from the accord in 2020,
this gap will will return.
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.
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.
for going beyond simply 'greening' military infrastructure.
For any of that to be
effective, the U.S. military's carbon bootprint must be addressed in
domestic policy and international climate treaties.
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.
The money spent procuring and distributing fuel across the U.S. '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