There is so much to unpack in this boneheaded article from online rag Defense One that it’s hard to know where to begin: “Climate Change Is Already Disrupting the Military. It Will Get Worse, Officials Say.“
The good news: the Pentagon has noticed that climate change is a thing
The bad news: the Pentagon is taking minimal responsibility for contributing to it, instead mostly just planning for how to mitigate changes that will be forced upon them.
The good news: they’re planning for changes like providing more help to fight forest fires.
The bad news: they’re planning for providing more storm troopers to beat up, tear gas, pepper spray, and LRAD protesters when militarized police forces in U.S. cities want more boots on the ground.
Pentagon brass quoted in the article also see this as bad news, but for a different reason: soldiers “aren’t doing the sort of warfighter training that they need to do.”
Really? It seems like urban warfare against people defending their right to life in their own neighborhoods will be one of the few things left for human warfighters to do in the 21st century. It won’t take that many of them to press the buttons activating killer robots in the air, on land, or sea.
One of the hallmarks of what is passed off as journalism under late stage capitalism is claiming to ask hard questions while actually producing a puff piece.
(A sampling of the featured articles in this issue can be seen above.) Producing “analysis” that is devoid of context is a specialty, as is presenting as fait accompli various ghastly decisions and programs that are highly profitable to the already wealthy (e.g. missile “defense”).
In its publisher’s own words: “Defense One is a portfolio brand of GovExec, whose market-leading services help contractors support government leaders and their missions.”
For “missions” here read “quest to land a lucrative position following time spent posing as a government leader.”
So, absent a rigorous examination of how the Pentagon and its contractors are actually driving climate crisis, we’re invited to view the problem from the “defense” perspective.
In June, the International Military Council on Climate and Security released its second report on the impacts of climate change on issues such as governance and civil unrest across the globe. They surveyed experts from a variety of institutions…asking them how they expect various risk areas like biodiversity, water availability, and instability within nations to evolve over the next decade. The experts held a dim view.
“Respondents expect a majority of risks will pose high to catastrophic levels of risk to security. [emphasis mine] Ten and 20 years from now, respondents expect very high levels of risk along nearly every type of climate security phenomena,” the report said.
The experts concluded that the global governance system isn’t prepared for many of the risks. So, in part because of that lack of preparedness, more and more of the international response to climate-change-related issues will fall to men and women in uniform. [emphasis mine]
You can almost hear contractors like Microsoft and their top brass clients salivating over this prospect, can’t you?
But not to worry. Technology will save the day! (Budgets go ka-ching.)
Unless it doesn’t.
The article ends on what I considered to be a hopeful note:
“…you’re making a decision based on the probability of occurrence, and that’s what you’re putting in. But what if you get it wrong? And what if you get it wrong with something that’s mission-critical?”
Mission-critical like crashing human life on this planet because you ignored the 100% probability that failing to count military emissions leads directly there?
To: Participants in COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, Glasgow, Scotland, November 1-12, 2021
As a result of final-hour demands made by the U.S. government during negotiation of the 1997 Kyoto treaty, military greenhouse gas emissions were exempted from climate negotiations. That tradition has continued.
The 2015 Paris Agreement left cutting military greenhouse gas emissions to the discretion of individual nations.
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, obliges signatories to publish annual greenhouse gas emissions, but military emissions reporting is voluntary and often not included.
NATO has acknowledged the problem but not created any specific requirements to address it.
There is no reasonable basis for this gaping loophole. War and war preparations are major greenhouse gas emitters. All greenhouse gas emissions need to be included in mandatory greenhouse gas emission reduction standards. There must be no more exception for military pollution.
We ask COP26 to set strict greenhouse gas emissions limits that make no exception for militarism, include transparent reporting requirements and independent verification, and do not rely on schemes to “offset” emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from a country’s overseas military bases must be fully reported and charged to that country, not the country where the base is located.