Alternatives to Greening the Military

April 29, 2020 - Download PDF Version

Greener Alternatives to “Greening the Military”

Instead of greenwashing the military, here are three suggestions for Pentagon policy that would drastically reduce greenhouse emissions, free up resources for green policies, and reduce U.S. reliance on militarism and war:

1. Close unneeded domestic and overseas bases.

The U.S. operates more than 800 military installations around the world. Maintaining an expansive military sprawl requires significant investment in carbon-intensive infrastructure and gas-guzzling equipment. Fossil fuels are required to power bases, but also to fuel the non-stop movement of troops and supplies around the world that keep these installations running. Domestic and overseas military installations account for about 40% of the DoD’s greenhouse gas emissions. Closing as many as 60% or more of these bases would significantly reduce fossil fuel emissions, save as much as $90 billion that could be repurposed for green policies, and would make the world safer by raising barriers to armed conflict.

2. End all U.S. wars.

The U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have emitted more than 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, resulting in an estimated 800,000 deaths and 21 million people displaced. Ending the wars would save lives, reduce emissions, and free up an additional $70 billion for green policies.

3. Cut weapons manufacturing.

Needless weapons manufacturing creates more jets, ships, aircraft carriers, and more that increase emissions, needlessly increase nuclear power demands, ease the path to war, and in the case of nuclear weapons, present the other major existential threat to human existence besides climate change. Ending needless weapons manufacturing and eliminating nuclear weapons could save $100 billion for green policies.

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