Climate, speaking of unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions: how much energy does military activity waste?

Climate, speaking of unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions: how much energy does military activity waste?
Climate, speaking of unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions: how much energy does military activity waste?

In last Tuesday’s post I continued to think about the controversial issue of unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. A voice completely neglected by past and present and, probably, future international agreements. The license of uselessness undoubtedly arises from a personal judgment. In my opinion, the enormous amount of energy that humanity devotes to the creation of cryptovalute It is a waste. This is not a shared opinion.

Most of the (numerous) comments pointed out mercilessly my ignorance in the field of cryptocurrencies, enhancing their economic and social validity, cultural and theological merit, sublime essence. Very true: I don’t understand anything about currencies. And even less of their cryptic declination. On the mitigation of the climate change, where a cut of 200 terawatt-hours per year could help a lot, these comments have, however, glossed over.

The comments to the post, normally calm and constructive, have touched debate accents among virologists, veterinarians and NoVax with some haze from a chemtrail. Better a Bitcoin today of a hen in twenty years. Tomorrow is another day and we will see, especially if the value of the cryptocurrency will grow exponentially as has happened so far. Just in case, the cryptocurrency worshiper will be able to afford a super conditioner, if it really gets a little warmer. And, if it gets worse, she can happily migrate to a Caribbean island, as long as it hasn’t been submerged. It is a clear lesson: mitigation is a must if it does not undermine one’s vision of life. Better if the “others” do it.

Cop26 of Glasgow takes the growth of energy demand for granted, without asking what all this energy is for. Yet there are many wastes and questionable uses. Cryptocurrencies are just a prototype. For instance: how important is military activity that unites large and small nations in the continuous effort to improve their ability to fire?

On this issue, an article recently published on The Conversation (How the world’s militaries hide their huge carbon emissions, November 9, 2021) issues a stern judgment: “Leadership in the fight against climate change claims more serious things than heartfelt speeches. It means facing harsh truths. One truth that governments around the world are struggling with is the immense contribution of their military to the climate crisis ”. Some scholars estimate that the armed forces, together with the industries that feed the supply chain, produce up to five percent of global greenhouse gas emissions: more than commercial shipping and civil aviation which, combined, are worth about three and a half percent.

A scientific article published a year ago on Tigb – free to access – analyzes the geopolitical ecology of the global logistics supply chain of the US military (Belcher et al., Hidden carbon costs of the “everywhere war”: Logistics, geopolitical ecology, and the carbon boot-print of the US military, Trans Inst Br Geogr, 45.1, 2020). In 2017, their greenhouse gas emissions had reached 23,000 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent (see Figure) where aviation had the lion’s share: a single fighter plane mission F-35 emits nearly 30 tons of CO2e. And if a B-2 nuclear bomber gets up, the emissions are nine times higher.

Despite being in force since 2015 the Parisian agreement that commits 46 nations to communicate emissions from their military chain, these data are still opaque. The analyzes reported by indicate a general trend towardsunderstatement: governments tend to under-report actual emissions, also due to the complexity of a highly branched supply chain. Not to mention that some important nations – for example: China, Israel, India, Saudi Arabia – are completely ignorant of the issue, not having signed that agreement.

“The only way to cool the furnace is to turn off at least some furnaces ”, concluded the authors of the study on the US armed forces. All of this would have an immediate effect in reducing emissions, today and from tomorrow onwards. Not only, a turnaround it would discourage industrial investments made in the presumption that the armed forces are always and still available to buy and consume without hesitation.

Is this a likely option?

Both Western governments and Eastern powers fear the security implications of the climate crisis. And the strengthening of the armed forces is also seen as an indispensable bulwark to deal with the climate challenge. Some can be expected weapons-grade greenwash, facade operations that sweeten the pill. But governments will hardly put flowers in their guns, as the pacifist slogan most uselessly chanted and sung by the boys of fifty years ago invoked.

In the past, we knew the meteorological consequences of the war: after the battle it always rains and profusely, as testified by the veterans of the Seven Years’ War. They are short-term phenomena, on the order of a day or so, associated with the insemination of the air due to the dust generated by the explosions. We now know that the sector of the armed forces is a major player in the rapidly increasing greenhouse effect on Earth. And when the military goes into action, war has disruptive climate effects. It not only produces a spike in the extraction and consumption of how important is military activity, but also extensive deforestation, destruction of ecosystems, an increase in the torches of chemical and oil plants, a boom in the production of cement for reconstruction. All ovens on which increase the global warming.

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