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Combat vs. Climate


Combat vs. Climate

Miriam Pemberton

Our military calls climate change "an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water."

And this month the Obama administration announced a comprehensive strategy to incorporate climate change into our national security strategy. But there was no mention of money: how much this would cost or where the money would come from.


A fascinating and interesting angle worth every column inch, yet it somehow avoids mentioning the environmental and climatic effects of building our military arsenal and exploding all those missiles and bombs, another major contributor to the current global warming.

The numbers are mind-boggling, but the budget reflects our priorities, and war-making is at the top of that list regardless of cost.


A climate denier versus another lip service climate acknowledger, one committed to Obama's all of the above energy policy, will do nothing to prevent global warming. Trump or Clinton in the White Houde means four more years of no progress. Only one candidate is serious about taking on global warming. Go Green.


I note that this piece was culled from US News and World Report - a much larger audience than CD. That is a very good thing, but how many of that publication's readers will seriously contemplate what Pemberton says here?

Also, the consequences of the POTUS choice Pemberton refers to near the top is not quite so defined as she implies. As long as Clinton remains a neocon hegemon (and it is in her blood,) action on climate change will continue to take a back seat. As for the Congress acting on climate change - that thought is completely delusional. The professional political class is completely owned by the oligarchy, and WILL NOT do anything to seriously discomfit the profit gravy train.


Re: exploding all those missiles and bombs

Yeah, check out James Hansen's graph released on Sept 26. Temperature spikes seem to occur during war periods-- although he believes his 1940-45 numbers need correction.



Interesting article.

What's IPS?


”Next month, we'll know whether we'll have a climate denier or an advocate for climate action in the White House”

No, we’ve known for more than 6 months we’d have a climate denying delayalist in the White House, just like we have now. Along with virtually the entire corporate duopoly party, Obama and Clinton both deny the truth about climate—that it’s far more serious than almost anyone knows or is willing to admit. Dozens of studies are now confirming that, and an increasing majority of climate scientists is finally saying what many have known all along.

Anyone who understands in an embodied way as well as intellectually, how dire the situation is, opposes fracking and TPP and wants NAFTA repealed, wants an immediate ban on fossil fuel development not only on federal lands, but on all lands, wants the fossil fuel industry nationalized and shut down as quickly as possible as we build replacements for it of efficiency, wiser lives, and clean safe resilient renewable energy. Anyone who gets it and is willing to admit it wants a rapid transformation of agriculture and industry to ecological forms—exactly the opposite of almost everything we have now, and wants us to take fast, radical steps toward global ecology and healing the psychological issues that are at the heart of all our problems. And anyone who understands the complexity and interwoven nature of the problem wants the US military to be recalled from the hundred and fifty plus countries it’s in, to be cut by half immediately and by 90% over the next 5-10 years, to be replaced with a Civilian Climate Corps of engineers, builders, laborers, writers and artists, educators, lawyers and everyone else, and spending on real solutions to the one multi-faceted problem we face now.

The first step is to declare a state of emergency and begin a US-led global climate mobilization. We can’t let ourselves be fooled by the sleight of hand of inadequate measures like Clinton has promised. Neither Clinton nor Congress will be willing to do anything but violently oppose the programs that will make a difference; unless either convinced to or removed from power by a massive peaceful revolution we’ll drift beyond the point of being able to save civilization while the corporate elite gaslights the public and deludes itself it can survive what’s coming. We can’t wait another 4 or 8 years to start this; it has to be now. Miriam Pemberton seems to get that sometimes but is either still trapped in obsolete ways of thinking about the crisis or is just unwilling to say what needs to be done. We need to help each other get past this block to our action demanding solutions.


PS I was a little disappointed, as I was hoping for some help from the article on direct comparisons I'm collating--how many wind turbines and solar panels and thermal plants could be built if we "sacrifice" x weapon systems? for example.


The peak seems to be in a slightly different place (later by a couple of years) than many graphs I've seen but 3 things should be noted:

  1. GHGs massively, MASSIVELY out-warm explosions and all other direct heating of things by humans, which don't even appear as rounding errors on the rounding errors in any GHG calculations I've ever seen. The manufacturing of explosives probably has more warming effect than the exploding of explosives--or did I mistake the meaning of the 2 mentions here?

  2. The Second-Thirty-Years-War Factor
    After WWII, there were about 75 million fewer people; along with the lasting effects of 30 million fewer from the first war and 50 million fewer from the flu epidemic,The reduction caused land use to change, sequestering more carbon. The cause of the cooling effects are mostly bad in many other ways, and don't last long into the rebound of heating from the increased GHGs.

  3. War stirs up dust, soot, aerosols from war production and destruction, and movement of massive armies, along with immense clouds of hot air from sycophant journalists as well as jingoistic politicians and of course the huge increase in CO2 and other GHGs. The short term effects are to cool the Earth until the aerosols settle out and the hot air settles down to normal (ridiculously high) peacetime levels. Then the longer-lasting but pipelined GHGs cause an uptick in warming, gradual but still over and above what there would have been without the war. Over the last 2 centuries the parallel increases in consumption and consumptive populations (different from the mostly non-consumptive populations still growing today) have meant the war increases simply faded into the ongoing "normal" increase.

I've never read any studies on these interpretations of mine but would love to if anyone knows of any.