U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez decried Wednesday’s attack on the exclusion of military emissions from national decarbonization pledges, arguing—in concert with scores of climate justice advocates—that ignoring a key sourceThe planet’s emergency is complicated by the effects of greenhouse gas polluting.
“To omit discussions about military investment when we have global conferences on cutting emissions is to omit measuring CO2 emissions,” Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told Abby Martin, host on “The Empire Files,” answered the journalist’s question regarding whether greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from the U.S. military should be included in President Joe Biden’s pledge to reduce carbon pollution by half by 2020 levels.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other U.S. delegates to COP26, when asked a similar question by Martin the day before, argued that the climate crisis is a “national security issue” requiring a greener, but not a smaller, U.S. military—a framing that scholars and activists have arguedThis is both ominous, and dangerous.
Martin stated to the panel, “You just presided at a large increase in Pentagon budget.” Annual U.S. military spendingThis account for more than half of the federal discretionary budget, is approaching $780 billion after the House Armed Services Committee in September voted in favor of a Republican-sponsored amendment to add $23.9 billion on top of Biden’s proposed $753 billion military budget for fiscal year 2022—already up from the $740 billion approved for the previous fiscal year under the Trump administration.
She said, “This Pentagon budget already is massive.” The U.S. spends far more on its military than the United Kingdom. next 10 countries combined and is poised to funnel even more money to private contractors because, despite the recent withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, congressional Republicans—as well as Democrats who receive significant campaign contributions from the weapons industry—have rejected amendments to reduce Pentagon funding.
Martin stated that the Pentagon is more polluting than 140 countries. Martin asked, “How can we talk about net zero?” She said, “if there is this bipartisan agreement to continuously expand this large contributor of climate change, which is exempted from these conferences?”
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D.N.J.), is the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He tried to dispute the notion “increasing [the defense budget] is inconsistent with climate action.” This implies that the Pentagon has a positive function to play in addressing society’s existential threats, even though there is evidence that U.S. military involvement has only exacerbated them. human suffering environmental destruction.
Pelosi, on the other hand, stressed that “because all of the conditions that exist that [the] climate crisis produces”—including “migration and conflict over habitat and resources”—it is a “security challenge globally.” Instead of supporting, popularDemands to cut Pentagon spending and use the savings peace dividendPelosi refused to fund the Green New Deal and instead emphasized the need for the U.S. to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
Martin pointed out that the U.S. military’s “”carbon bootprint“is greater than 140 countries together, but military-driven pollutants are not requiredto be included in the emission-reduction targets discussed by diplomats at global talks on climate, including the ongoing United Nations meeting, Glasgow. This meeting has been criticized for producing yet another round of woefully inadequate plans.
It’s not only the U.S. military who has been hiding behind the scenes for its escalation in the climate crisis. The Guardian reportedThursday:
The combined world’s militaries, and the industries that produce their equipment. are estimated to create 6% of all global emissionsAccording to Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR), it is.
They claim that there is a “large loophole in the Paris agreement” that prevents governments from providing full data about greenhouse gases emitted by armed force. Previously, militaries were exempted from CO under the Kyoto protocol.2 targets, after lobbying from the U.S. government.
Campaigners believe that the current situation, in which states are only allowed to include armed force in their carbon-cutting obligations under the voluntary model, is undermining efforts for climate change mitigation.
Ocasio Cortez reiterated the same point Wednesday, when she spoke with Martin. “There’s no way we’re going to draw it down,” she said—referring to GHG pollution, including that which is caused by the U.S. military, the world’s largest consumer of petroleum—”if we don’t measure it and if we don’t commit to it.”
The comments of the New York Democrat came one week after Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.). introduced a resolution demanding that the Pentagon account for its ecological impacts, and establish emission reduction targets consistent with the Paris agreement, which seeks to avert the most catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis by limiting global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels by the end of the century.
Over the past two week, activists in Glasgow and beyond have tried to draw attention the hidden military emissions of governments while urging them to make significant cuts. A petitionThe Conflict and Environment Observatory (CEOBS), which organized the event, has received the supportMore than 600 organizations and 27,000 people.
CEOBS launched the “The CEOBS” earlier in the week. Military Emissions Gapwebsite that allows viewers track the difference between GHG pollution governments report to UN and how much they are responsible when military emissions are included.
“There can’t be any genuine discussion about addressing climate change if we’re not including the military,” Ramón Mejía, an Iraq War veteran and anti-militarism organizer with Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, told Democracy Now!earlier in the week. “The military is, as we all know, the largest consumer and largest emitter of fossil fuels. [the]The most important greenhouse gases responsible for climate disruption.”