1. If nations with the largest militaries - US, European nations (UK, Germany), Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and India - signed peace pacts with their biggest geopolitical foes, we can eliminate 100 million metric tons of CO2 + other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions/year.
2. If world’s militaries stopped producing unnecessary CO2+GHGs immediately (these militaries collectively produce more emissions in 1 hour than average person does in 2500 years), governments can stop penalizing consumers with “green taxes” (plastic bags, gas guzzler tax etc).
3. When governments impose “green taxes” they’re passing on the cost of offsetting CO2 to consumers because govs can’t seem to figure out how to make peace with other govs. So now consumers are expected to drive smaller, cleaner vehicles, install LED bulbs, eat less meat 🥩…
4. But tens of millions of people entering the middle class in countries like India and China, and embracing US-style consumption to boost GDP (70% of US GDP is consumption) we can’t expect them to starve themselves to reduce CO2. To offset, CO2 cuts must come from elsewhere.
5. If you are to believe the dire climate change warnings from scientists, the most logical place to cut CO2 emissions the would appear to be the military - and work to reduce wars, conflict. But military spending in US keeps expanding and other nations feel forced to keep up.
6. Not surprisingly, there’s much opposition to the Paris “Agreement” - from countries that want to pursue activities that expand their CO2 production: from enlarging the military to producing more stuff that results in increased GDP (remember 70% of US GDP is consumption).
7. Some would argue that having a large and powerful (CO2-emitting) military footprint allows the US 🇺🇸 to maintain a stable geopolitical environment that allows American multinationals to keep increasing the GDP via boosting personal consumption globally.
8. In the Middle East, the US military footprint has been largely subsidized by oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦, UAE 🇦🇪, Kuwait 🇰🇼, and Qatar 🇶🇦, which host US bases, troops and supply the Pentagon with tons of cheap/free fuel. For now, US taxpayers aren’t seeing the tab.
9. All this cheap fuel and accommodations also means more military exercises which can result in (aside from more CO2/pollution that affects local populations - cases of respiratory illnesses have skyrocketed in recent years) unintended wars and conflicts.
10. Presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia to repel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait - mission spewed 100 million metric tons of CO2 - angered many locals and was exploited as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda by Usama Bin Laden. Response to 9/11 attacks spewed 200 million tons of CO2.
11. A war with Iran 🇮🇷 will likely produce 100 million metric tons of CO2 - these are often not numbers you hear from lawmakers on Capitol Hill who still size up wars like this was the 70s - “How many casualties? How much will this cost?” But few ask about impact on environment.
12. As a result, while the public is attuned to opposing war based on casualty figures, cost, few have learned to associate war or conflict with irreversible planet warming CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions. But the public and media can change this. We can slap on a new lens 👓.
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