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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

March, 2008


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Reducing Greenhouse Gases:
It's The Military, Stupid!
By Stephen Simac

Many people were suspicious when the CP promised readers they could Reduce Greenhouse Gases, Save Money and Lose Weight. You'd expect to pay a large fortune to reduce Greenhouse Gases (GG), to slow Global Warming (GW) without any fringe benefits. Yet the info we're giving away for Free can do all that and Save the Planet, guaranteed or double your money back.
Most of the measly measures being touted to reduce GG's are just expensive green hype, not likely to make a dent in GW. To review, GG's contribute to GW by absorbing heat radiating away from the planet being cooked by the sun. Generally a good thing, otherwise we would broil by day and shiver all night.

Water Vapor in the atmosphere provides 90% of the Greenhouse effect. However Carbon Dioxide (CO2), which makes up 90% of the remaining Greenhouse effect is the easiest to trade and/or tax of the human generated GG's including Methane, Nitrous Oxide and other gases used for refrigeration.

Almost all American production of GG's, not counting water vapor, is CO2 from consumption of energy for defense, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, construction, electricity generation, and heating/cooling buildings. Americans produce one fourth of the human generated GG's on the earth.

Our Department of "Defense" is the single largest consumer of oil in the world. Yet federal and state legislation passed or proposed to reduce GG's ignores the military contribution. GW hysteria is really Chicken Little without a Clue, because thousands of nuclear weapons ready to be launched are a more dire threat to the planet and human health than GW.

Our military has reduced their electricity use significantly since 1985, mostly by closing bases and downsizing troops. Electricity is only 10% of their total energy consumption, while 75% is from burning oil. Mostly for transport of people, materials and supplies in myriad planes, trucks and ships.

With the spiraling costs of oil, even the military's bloated budget is being squeezed. They've become the largest user of alternative energy and fuels to diversify their reliance on petroleum. Yet all the conservation and efficiency regulations passed by the military have been aimed at buildings and facilities, not their vehicles. There are no gas "sipping" jets, no hybrid aircraft carriers or tanks, although the Navy is the largest user of biodiesel.

Half the oil goes to the air force alone, 85% as jet fuel burned up just to move more fuel, soldiers and supplies to the hundreds of bases and military ventures overseas. Each American soldier fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect the American Way Of Life (AWOL) is using 16 gallons of oil per day.

After President Carter's conservation pleas were hooted down along with his gay sweater, he issued the Carter Doctrine in 1980. This was a more muscular Jimmy, with lust for oil in his heart, stating that the secure flow of oil in the Middle East was "in the vital interests of the United States of America" and "any means necessary, even military" would be used to protect this. The Carter Doctrine has multiplied like a hydra headed monster protecting oil supplies, pipelines and sea routes globally for America and its allies.

The U.S. uses 1/4 the petroleum burned in the world, so it's understandable we would want to protect or even seize supplies. It's a symptom of substance addiction to spend more and more time and money securing it. And acting violently or compulsively when threatened by potential disruptions in supply.

Military contracts are ladled out in every congressional district. Bases are scattered around the nation and in 140 countries on the planet. We spend more than the rest of the world combined on Defense. Defending our addiction to oil leaves a flume of Toxic Waste, GGs and a ginormous debt for our kids.

It's a tragedy that the idea of Humanity coming together to create Peace seems Delusional. It's our fixed belief in the Cult of the Military that makes the bloated military of the U.S.A. seem sane to the majority of citizens as long as we get our next fix.

We're oil dependent, regardless of the amount of GG's, Toxic Waste, money spent or environment devastated for it. We believe Defense is about protecting AWOL, so it's worth every billion. Our children will pay the costs of the political paralysis around slashing military funding through their lifetimes, without being able to enjoy AWOL themselves. Politicians promise to do something about GW; Prophets of Doom warn us we must, but the Inconvenient Truth of the Defense Department's primary role in GG emissions is ignored. Politicians who are willing to attack the heads of the hydra are ignored by the mainstream media unless they're being attacked. No candidates anointed by the media as "serious" will rein in defense spending. Yet if only 20% of our military budget were redirected towards supporting "domestic tranquility" instead of our "common defense", our most severe social problems could be solved, with a huge reduction in GG's as a bonus.

The Department of Defense is painted as the guardian of our "freedom", basically our automobile addicted, air-conditioned, AWOL lifestyle. But, when petroleum dries up, the military will get its share first. What's left over will go to government agencies, emergency response and policing the gas riots.

Soldiers who are fighting in hellish conditions in Iraq to keep oil flowing at home resent sacrificing so much for citizens leaving the petroleum tap open on the home front. Opposition to the War in Iraq didn't register until gasoline went past $2.50 a gallon. If ordered to quell riots over fuel shortages they'll happily open fire.

Since the price of oil is extremely supply and demand sensitive, cutting back military oil burning will lower the price of gas. For a while. So if you really want to Reduce GG's and Save Money, then Vote to Impeach federal representatives who won't cut the Defense Department to its core. Support candidates who will strip it down to defending our national borders. Define our national interests by what the people need, not what the military wastes. Losing Weight will have to wait until next month.



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