The environmental impact of warfare is real, a cost that is rarely understood or accounted for as this is submerged under the quite real costs in people’s lives and other resources (notably dollars). How many ‘average’ people when consider the U-Boat campaigns of World War II consider the oil slicks and implications for wildlife? The long-term impacts of bomb craters on a jungle? The … Over 30 years ago, I read Ecological Consequences of the Second Indochina War which first sensitized me to this issue. Thus, warfare (whether Just or otherwise) has an impact on the environment, on that space in which we live, work, die.
Oil for Change just issued a report that seeks to raise awareness in this vein, highlighting yet another “cost” of the Iraq War: A Climate of War: The war in Iraq and global warming (pdf).
Some key points from the study:
The direct US investments in the war, to day, could have paid for 100% of the renewable energy investments required for the coming 25 years to deal with global warming.
25 million additional cars: that is the equivalent to the minimum CO2 impact from the war over the past five years.
The $600 billion in direct appropriations for Iraq could have built over 9000 wind farms of 50 mw capacity, with the total capacity to meet 25% of US electricity loads.
The emissions associated with the war in Iraq are literally unreported. Military emissions abroad are not captured in the national greenhouse gas inventories that all industrialized nations, including the United States, report under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
It’s a loophole big enough to drive a tank through.
A tank that John McCain wants to drive …