C4L: Liberals & Conservatives Support The Biggest Polluters: Government
Submitted by Paco Elijah
This past week President Trump caused an uproar when he decided to withdrawal the U.S from the Paris Climate Agreement. Liberals have condemned Trump and conservatives couldn’t be more pleased. Although, conservatives shouldn’t get too excited just yet as Trump has stated his intentions to renegotiate.
“So we’re getting out,” Trump said, “but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair.” Do we really believe a new deal would end up much better for America or much different than the previous agreement? Remember ‘Ryancare’ or what some call ‘Obamacare Lite?’
President Trump should refuse any deal and should advise world leaders that America will not make any agreements or enforce any new rules or regulations on any industry. The free market should determine what forms of energy should be used, how much energy to use, and in what ways citizens and businesses can combat pollution or climate change. The federal government should be removing burdens, taxes, and regulations instead of creating more of them which only hurts American jobs and the economy. Governments, especially the military, are the world’s biggest polluters and yet they pretend to be concerned with the environment.
“The United States Department of Defense is one of the largest single consumers of energy in the world, responsible for 93% of all US government fuel consumption in 2007 (Air Force: 52%; Navy: 33%; Army: 7%. Other DoD: 1%). The DoD’s electricity use would supply enough electricity to power more than 2.6 million average American homes. In electricity consumption, if it were a country, the DoD would rank 58th in the world, using slightly less than Denmark and slightly more than Syria. The Department of Defense uses 4,600,000,000 US gallons (1.7×1010 L) of fuel annually, an average of 12,600,000 US gallons (48,000,000 L) of fuel per day. A large Army division may use about 6,000 US gallons (23,000 L) per day. According to the 2005 CIA World Factbook, if it were a country, the DoD would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just behind Iraq and just ahead of Sweden.”
Liberals and conservatives, throughout the Bush and Obama years, have supported, defended, and even endorsed our military intervention overseas. If our military is such a contributing factor to climate change maybe we should address our foreign policy instead of making new deals that hurt the economy. If Trump said we’re going to bring the troops home, bring back our navy ships, and close all our bases around the world imagine how much good it would do for the environment. We could cut back majorly on the militaries use of oil, electricity, and bombs which would lower our carbon footprint.
The military doesn’t just contribute to carbon emissions but to overall pollution that also effects our soldiers and civilian populations. A study released in 2016 showed that air pollution caused by war may be a major factor in the numbers of birth defects and cancers being reported in Iraq and other war zones.
From The Guardian:
“The toll among soldiers has been documented in testimonies given to the US Department of Veterans Affairs and in a new book, The Burn Pits, based on interviews with 500 veterans exposed to pollution. They record how foam, electronics, metal cans, rubber tires, ammunition, explosives, human feces, animal carcasses, batteries, asbestos insulation and heavy metal waste were doused in jet fuel and set on fire during the Iraq war.”
“We found very high levels of mercury, lead, titanium and various toxic metals in hair of children and parents of children with disorders or severe birth defects, showing metal contamination has happened since 2003 – with increased disorders and defects. We could see that when the bombing started so did the birth defects. In May 2010, 15% of 547 babies born at the [Basra] hospital had severe birth defects. This is in contrast to 2% to 4% that is normal.”
Illegal and unconstitutional wars take a toll on life, liberty, and the environment. Populations all around the world pay a heavy price physically and financially but government officials who make these trade deals and finance these wars in the name of safety and security do not. It seems like the biggest cheerleaders for the environment are the biggest threat to the environment.
A recent article in USA TODAY makes a great point:
“What if, indeed? One reason why so many people don’t take climate change seriously is that the people who are constantly telling us it’s a crisis never actually act like it’s a crisis. They’re all-in for sacrifices by other people, but never seem to make much in the way of sacrifices themselves.”
If we really want to combat climate change and help the environment we should do it voluntarily. Maybe we should pressure politicians and celebrities who care about the earth so much to stop flying around in private jets. Maybe we should end all foreign trips by the president. Maybe climate scientists, politicians, celebrities, etc. could make their conferences all virtual and cut back on air travel—if they’re really serious about protecting the environment. Unfortunately climate change, much like war, is used as an excuse for government to gain more power, wealth, and control. A healthy respect for liberty and private property rights would do our environment a whole lot of good.