The Democrats’ Disastrous, Militarist Climate Plan


By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, July 5, 2020

The habitability of the earth and the viability of lesser evilism are on the ropes, and incrementalism is thriving even in the current moment of increased activism for radical change.  Just take a look at the new “Climate Crisis Action Plan” from the Democratic Party’s Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

The big goal for the next decade is to — brace yourself, don’t be staggered by this — “Reduce net U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 37% below 2010 levels in 2030.” Ooooooooh! Aaaaaaaaah! We’re all going to die a bit more slowly!

Come to think of it, that is a better slogan idea for the Joe Biden campaign than “Shoot em in the Legs!”

But don’t believe for a minute that this plan even means what it says. Its solutions include disastrous scams like “biofuels” and nuclear energy. It proposes no fundamental change in lifestyle, no reduction in personal consumption, and no halt or reduction in eating meat (but renewable energy production on land used for livestock, so that the same land can mitigate the unacknowledged damage it is doing). It offers no proposed federal budget with any major moving of the money to where it’s needed, and no plan to extract any resources from billionaires and corporate giants.

This plan has been criticized for largely ignoring 96% of humanity in order to address a global problem as an isolated country. That’s not quite right. It’s actually a plan built around hostile violence toward the world and the imperative to occupy the world with military forces. Here’s a bit of it:

“The U.S. military is the world’s largest consumer of energy from fossil fuels. Among federal agencies, the Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for 77% of the federal government’s total energy use.”

This fun fact is followed by no remote hint at so much as “studying” the possibility of reduced militarism. In fact, it’s part of a section of the report called “Harness the Power of the Military for Net-Zero and Resilient Energy Installations.” The “power of the military,” as you read through it, appears to be the power to do incrementally less damage to the environment while steadily continuing to prepare for one of the most environmentally damaging activities ever devised: war. In fact, the crowning achievement of the “power of the military” turns out to be the ability to plan to attempt to achieve net-zero energy use on military bases in the year 2030. This will mean requiring military bases to include “renewable” energy production (including nuclear, biofuels, whatever). But a pass will be given to any bases anywhere on earth that are labeled “non-enduring,” by the Pentagon, including any of the non-enduring bases now littering the globe that are still non-enduring in 2030. There is no discussion of the fact that the military already gets 60% of federal discretionary spending, and that giving it even more in order to mitigate the damage it is doing runs contrary to the idea of creating a coherent efficient overall plan to reverse climate destruction.

This Democratic Crisis Action Report explains that “The military has a unique use case for fuels made from captured carbon, because generating fuels onsite at Forward Operating Bases could avoid vulnerabilities associated with physically delivering conventional fossil fuels, which requires protection from enemy attacks.” In other words, if you’re going to continue pushing hostile violence toward the world and installing military bases in other people’s countries where they will be resented and resisted, an important part of the climate strategy of the imperial homeland must be developing ways to produce fuels for the military on the sites of its wars. It’s true that the U.S. military has been a top source of funding for the Taliban in large part by paying for safe passage for its fossil fuels. But the possibility of ending the wars is never mentioned.

This is the pattern. “Captured carbon could be converted into precipitating sand for use as an alternative to coral reefs to nourish beaches in distant locations like the Kwajalein Atoll missile test site.” But the alternative of not destroying islands to test missiles is never considered.

“The Department of Defense (DOD) maintains approximately 585,000 facilities located on 4,775 sites worldwide. DOD real property is worth more than $1.2 trillion and is critical to U.S. national security.” Of course “critical” doesn’t specify a positive or a negative effect on people’s security. Otherwise, this statement is very clear, and it would seem clear what needs to be done: give people their land back. Instead, this statement in this report kicks off a long section on the threat of climate change to its real victims: war planners.

After all, climate change isn’t a threat so severe that the U.S. government should shift away from generating enemies through slaughtering people in order to devote resources instead to environmental protection. On the contrary, climate collapse is a military threat justifying the militarism that contributes to it and syphons resources away from addressing it. The report tells us:

“Developing countries are especially ill-prepared to face the impacts of climate change. The resulting humanitarian and refugee crises, if unchecked, have the potential to become national security threats.” The solution: “Require the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to Plan for Climate Risks.”

4 Responses

  1. Seriously? This is the “best” plan for climate control? Who are the morons that think so? PLEASE, give us the names, so we can call & write to them, directly. I’m sick to my stomach after reading this plan.

  2. All of which can be explained by one simple observation: It is not possible to fight, let alone win, a modern conventional war (aka “project power”) without unlimited access to cheap and abundant oil-based fuels. Bio/synfuels will never be cheap and abundant enough at scale, and no other kind of stored energy has anywhere near the power-to-weight ratio of combustible fuels. The military knows this very well.

    Moreover even the Pentagon’s budget is not nearly enough to pay for the discovery, extraction and refining of fossil fuels on the scale needed to render them cheap and abundant; for that, it needs us all to chip in by also using oodles of such fuels in our day-to-day lives. As a result, no entity on this planet is more dead set against decarbonizing our energy infrastructure than the U.S. military, and the Democrats are merely going along with what the military needs like they always do.

    Finally, it is quite obvious that any serious war would go nuclear in a hurry, so conventional warfare has virtually nothing to do with the “national security” of the civilian population of the USA, understood as safety from attack by foreign adversaries. It is needed only to maintain the petrodollar, U.S. hegemony, and control of the world’s economy by its principle beneficiaries (both in the U.S. and elsewhere). This global protection racket (as it may succinctly be described) was the brainchild of Henry Kissinger.

    We will not end climate change before we have ended this global protection racket, period. For a detailed account of how we arrived at this ill-fated juncture, see Matthieu Auzanneau’s opus “Oil, Power and War: A Dark History.”

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