Another Cost of War
Your March 31 cover story, “The Costs of War,” did an excellent job of calculating the toll the Iraq War has taken on the economy. A new report by Oil Change International examines another cost of war: its impact on the climate and on efforts to combat global warming.
A Climate of War (at priceofoil.org) quantifies the greenhouse gas emissions of the Iraq War and the opportunity costs of fighting a war rather than climate change. Research reveals: projected total US spending on the Iraq War could cover all the global investments in renewable power generation needed between now and 2030 to halt current global warming trends; the war is responsible for at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions since March 2003, as much as would be generated by putting 25 million more cars on the road this year.
Military emissions abroad are not captured in the greenhouse gas inventories that all industrialized nations report under the UN Convention on Climate Change. It’s a loophole big enough to drive a tank through. If we weren’t so dependent on oil, it’s unlikely we’d be warring for control of reserves thousands of miles away. Energy efficiency and renewable technologies will help keep US troops at home.
Jersey City, N.J.
In “The Wages of Peace” [March 31] Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier address what far too few media do–the devastating yet largely hidden domestic costs of war and a hugely bloated military budget. And it is not just lost jobs or tax revenues; it is the deep political and social side effects of a massive amount of GDP devoted to a war machine.
Carmel Valley, Calif.
“The Wages of Peace” carefully details the relative value of peace jobs compared with war jobs. When a society invests in infrastructure, education and healthcare, that spending promotes growth, productivity and social good. When a society spends that money on weapons and warfare, that’s it–a dead end. A nation that puts military spending ahead of nurturing its future generations, as we are doing, is doomed to swift decline. We are spending away our children’s futures. Progressives need to make the American people and the next President understand the real costs of war.