Of Course The Pentagon’s Emissions Are Higher Than Portugal’s – It’s A Bigger Organisation

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Shock and horror – Horror! even – as it is revealed that the carbon emissions from the Pentagon are larger than those from Portugal. A complaint of mindboggling stupidity when we consider that the Pentagon, as it is being described, is a larger organisation than Portugal. But then, you know, expecting logic and numeracy about climate change is a bit of a forlorn hope, isn’t it?

The Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than Portugal, study finds

Yes, obviously, who wouldn’t expect this?

The United States creates more planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions through its defense operations alone than industrialized countries such as Sweden and Portugal, researchers said on Wednesday.

Of course, and?

If it were a country, its emissions would make it the world’s 55th largest contributor, said Neta Crawford, the study’s author and a political scientist at Boston University. “There is a lot of room here to reduce emissions,” Crawford said.

Why would you think it wasn’t? Given that the Pentagon is about the size of the 55th country in the world?

To think this through for a moment. Emissions are determined by how many people, being how rich, using what technologies? That’s the basic insight which underlies all of our climate models in the first place so something we all should understand when discussing the subject.

OK, the Pentagon oversees 1.3 million troops, 800k reservists and Lord alone knows how many civilian workers. Let’s call it 2.5 million just for argument’s sake.

Portugal has some 10 million people. The workforce is about 5 million – 50% of the population is economically active, about right. And all the Pentagon’s people, as we’re counting them, are economically active. Or, we could double the number of employees to gain us the population living off the Pentagon to compare to Portugal’s 10 million population.

Then we want how rich. Portugal’s GDP per capita is about $23,000 a year. That of the US more like $59,000 a year.

So, we’ve an economic unit which has half the number of people who are more than twice as rich. And the smaller in people but each person much richer place has roughly similar emissions.

Hmm, surprise, eh?

Or one other way Pentagon budget is about $700 billion a year. Portugal’s GDP about $200 billion. Budget and GDP aren’t the same thing but still a useful yardstick.

So who is surprised the Pentagon’s emissions are higher than those of Portugal? The hard of thinking of course, or perhaps the ignorant. And while we can all be ignorant of many things it’s a bit odd to be releasing a report parading it, isn’t it?

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Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Still the Pentagon’s CO2 emissions are a minuscule fraction of those produced by termites.

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

Still the Pentagon’s CO2 emissions are a minuscule fraction of those produced by termites.

Nigel Sedgwick
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Leo Savantt writes: “Still the Pentagon’s CO2 emissions are a minuscule fraction of those produced by termites.”

If there is any truth in the CAGW hypothesis (on which I am sceptical on much of any effect let alone catastrophe), it surely depends on moving CO2 (and other carbon) from outside of the ecosphere to inside the ecosphere. That is predominantly from fossil fuels (eg coal, crude oil, natural gas) and limestone-based rock (so buried outside the ecosphere).

Termites surely (mainly) just contribute to churning stuff around inside (a fairly narrow band of) the ecosphere.

Best regards

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

I make the same point about ’emissions’ from farmed animals – unless you think cows can dig up coal, eat it and belch the byproducts, it’s a closed loop. There’s a second order effect because they’re converting CO2 to CH4 (via grass as an intermediary), which is a more powerful greenhouse gas, but it oxidises back to CO2+H2O within a few years.

Boganboy
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Boganboy

The obvious way forward is for the Pentagon to build on its firm foundation of nuclear power use. This can start off with small nukes to substitute for diesel generators (they did put out a RFI on 18 Jan 19 for a small mobile nuclear reactor), and finally end up with the nuclear tank. One does wonder whether the old NERVA program could be adapted to power aircraft, but probably not for quite a while. The most charming part of this notion is the horror with which it’d be greeted by the Greens if it was put into practice, but… Read more »

Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan

Has Greta got any solutions to this?

literate3
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literate3

Ah, BUT … Tim the Pentagon’s higher income per head should mean it generates less CO2 because it is more efficient in its use of resources.

The stupidity of the greenies should not be an excuse for the stupidity of the Pentagon. Boganboy deserves a gold (or preferably Uranium) star.