Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 2 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 5 (7 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   4 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

The US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 5 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 3   Valuable 2   News 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 11/16/10

Become a Fan
  (37 fans)

The US military is responsible for horrible pollution all over the globe, yet this information has gone almost entirely unreported in the United States.


Censored, by pibby2008173 (2007), at Flickr Commons

There follows the complete text of Project Censored's "The US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet."


*

The US military is responsible for the most egregious and widespread pollution of the planet, yet this information and accompanying documentation goes almost entirely unreported. In spite of the evidence, the environmental impact of the US military goes largely unaddressed by environmental organizations and was not the focus of any discussions or proposed restrictions at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. This impact includes uninhibited use of fossil fuels, massive creation of greenhouse gases, and extensive release of radioactive and chemical contaminants into the air, water, and soil.

The extensive global operations of the US military (wars, interventions, and secret operations on over one thousand bases around the world and six thousand facilities in the United States) are not counted against US greenhouse gas limits. Sara Flounders writes, "By every measure, the Pentagon is the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy in general. Yet the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements."

While official accounts put US military usage at 320,000 barrels of oil a day, that does not include fuel consumed by contractors, in leased or private facilities, or in the production of weapons. The US military is a major contributor of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that most scientists believe is to blame for climate change. Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, reports, "The Iraq war was responsible for at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from March 2003 through December 2007. . . . That war emits more than 60 percent that of all countries. . . . This information is not readily available . . . because military emissions abroad are exempt from national reporting requirements under US law and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change."

According to Barry Sanders, author of The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, "the greatest single assault on the environment, on all of us around the globe, comes from one agency . . . the Armed Forces of the United States."

Throughout the long history of military preparations, actions, and wars, the US military has not been held responsible for the effects of its activities upon environments, peoples, or animals. During the Kyoto Accords negotiations in December 1997, the US demanded as a provision of signing that any and all of its military operations worldwide, including operations in participation with the UN and NATO, be exempted from measurement or reductions. After attaining this concession, the Bush administration then refused to sign the accords and the US Congress passed an explicit provision guaranteeing the US military exemption from any energy reduction or measurement.

Environmental journalist Johanna Peace reports that military activities will continue to be exempt based on an executive order signed by President Barack Obama that calls for other federal agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Peace states, "The military accounts for a full 80 percent of the federal government's energy demand."

As it stands, the Department of Defense is the largest polluter in the world, producing more hazardous waste than the five largest US chemical companies combined. Depleted uranium, petroleum, oil, pesticides, defoliant agents such as Agent Orange, and lead, along with vast amounts of radiation from weaponry produced, tested, and used, are just some of the pollutants with which the US military is contaminating the environment. Flounders identifies key examples:

Depleted uranium: Tens of thousands of pounds of microparticles of 4 radioactive and highly toxic waste contaminate the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Balkans.

US-made land mines and cluster bombs spread over wide areas of 4 Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East continue to spread death and destruction even after wars have ceased.

Thirty-five years after the Vietnam War, dioxin contamination is 4 three hundred to four hundred times higher than "safe" levels, resulting in severe birth defects and cancers into the third generation of those affected.

US military policies and wars in Iraq have created severe 4 desertification of 90 percent of the land, changing Iraq from a food exporter into a country that imports 80 percent of its food.

In the US, military bases top the Superfund list of the most 4 polluted places, as perchlorate and trichloroethylene seep into the drinking water, aquifers, and soil.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5

 

I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

For Brave Eyes - Eleven Images on December 8, 2008

Dorothea Rockburne – Introducing Mathematics into 20th Century Optical Art

A Pictorial Essay - Abstract Expressionism versus Geometric Expressionism

Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Bighorn, by Evan S. Connell

Fine Art on 12.28.008 - Four Contemporary Surrealist Paintings

Richard Misrach – A Life of Fine Art, and Reportage and Protest Photography

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

post on DOD pollution history. They must think th... by David McCauley on Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010 at 1:11:30 PM
And in this case, it's the bloody extent of their ... by GLloyd Rowsey on Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010 at 3:54:31 PM
During my time in the U.S.Navy I witnessed what I ... by Donald on Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010 at 6:38:24 PM
You're on the 'terrorist' watchlist now.Better wat... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010 at 6:49:21 AM