Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Missing Patterns in Corporate News: Project Censored’s Top 10 Underreported Stories of 2020

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 6:00 AM

Page 4 of 11

3. U.S. Military — a massive, hidden contributor to climate crisis

It's said that an army travels on its stomach, but the Army itself has said, "Fuel is the 'blood of the military,'" as quoted in a study, "Hidden Carbon Costs of the 'Everywhere War,'" by Oliver Belcher, Patrick Bigger, Ben Neimark, and Cara Kennelly, who subsequently summarized their findings for The Conversation in June 2019.

The U.S. military is "one of the largest polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more cli­mate-changing gases than most medium-sized countries," they wrote.

If it were a country, it would rank as "the 47th largest emitter of green­house gases in the world."

Studies of greenhouse gas emissions usu­ally focus on civilian use, but the U.S. military has a larger carbon footprint than any civilian corporation in the world.

"The U.S. military's climate policy remains fundamentally contradictory," their study notes.

On the one hand, "The U.S. military sees climate change as a 'threat multiplier,' or a condition that will exacerbate other threats, and is fast becoming one of the leading federal agencies in the United States to invest in research and adoption of renewable energy [but] it remains the largest single institutional consumer of hydrocarbons in the world, [and] this dependence on fossil fuels is unlikely to change as the USA continues to pursue open-ended operations around the globe."

While the military has invested in developing biofuels, "the entire point of these fuels is that they are 'drop-in' – they can be used in existing military kit – which means that, whenever convenient or cheaper, the infrastructure is already in place to undo whatever marginal gains have been made in decarbonisation."

Things will only get worse.

"There is no shortage of evidence that the climate is on the brink of irreversible tipping points," the study notes. "Once past those tipping points, the impacts of climate change will continue to be more intense, prolonged, and widespread, giving cover to even more extensive U.S. military interventions."

Understanding the military's climate impact requires a systems approach.

"We argue that to account for the U.S. military as a major climate actor, one must understand the logistical supply chain that makes its acquisition and consumption of hydrocarbon-based fuels possible," the study states. "We show several 'path dependencies' – warfighting paradigms, weapons systems, bureaucratic requirements, and waste – that are put in place by military supply chains and undergird a heavy reliance on carbon-based fuels by the U.S. military for years to come."

Data for their study was difficult to get.

"A loophole in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol exempted the United States from reporting mil­itary emissions," Project Censored explains. "Although the Paris Accord closed this loophole, Neimark, Belcher, and Bigger noted that, 'with the Trump administration due to withdraw from the accord in 2020, this gap ... will return.'" They only obtained fuel purchase data through multiple Freedom of Information Act requests.

Finally, by way of conclusions, Project Censored stated:

Noting that "action on climate change demands shut­tering vast sections of the military machine," Neimark, Belcher, and Bigger recommended that "money spent procuring and distributing fuel across the U.S. empire" be reinvested as "a peace dividend, helping to fund a Green New Deal in whatever form it might take."

Not surprisingly, the report had received "little to no corporate news coverage" as of May 2020, beyond scattered republication of their Conversation piece.



Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation