First, thank you for clicking on the title of Click Taste – it’s trench warfare here on the ESG front right now, and comparisons are being thrown around left, right, and center.
Nobody hates comparisons more than me, but as long as the longbows are pulled, I reserve the right to pull the “Moh’s Army!” Card. But first, we must understand how the military-industrial complex (MIC) is inextricably linked with the old financial system, through the mothers of all old industries, oil and the petrodollar.
MIC is more important to the financial system than you might think. I obviously have my doubts and basic facts, but This piece is for Bitcoin Magazine by Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation, really led me home. Gladstein’s article is a short read, 6500 words or so, and should be considered a mandatory minimum pre-reading for essentially all bitcoins, and certainly those who are serious about engaging in the ESG or human rights discussion.
If reading isn’t your thing, Be sure to tune in to a full hour of the dive Audio notation. Although I can’t summarize it for you, here’s the basic Gestalt: the global financial system cannot exist without the petrodollar, which cannot exist without the support of the United States government, and therefore, the US armed forces, and by further extension, the rest of the governments and armies of the world. So, if we want Compare Bitcoin Emissions to the “Old Financial System,” The military must also be accounted for, as well as the essential supporting industries. You could also argue that almost the entire public service (with the possible exception of health care) is also a mandatory cog in the financial machine, but that will be an article for another time.
This article will bring together the current literature on military emissions, as well as a summary of the methodology and assumptions behind these numbers. I will then compare these numbers with Bitcoin. It relies heavily on the following four sources (I recommend reading all of them if you are interested in this topic):
- Crawford, N.; (November 2019), “Fuel use in the Pentagon, climate change and the costs of warWatson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University.
- Parkinson, S.; (March 2020), “Army Carbon BootResponsible Science Journal, 2nd issue.
- Parkinson, S.; (May 2020), “Environmental impacts of the UK military sectorScholars for Global Responsibility.
- Parkinson, S and Cottrell, L (February 2021),”Under the Radar: The Carbon Footprint of Europe’s Military SectorsScholars for Global Responsibility.
While robust data is only available for the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom, it constitutes a sufficiently dominant share of the global military industry and spending that global conclusions can be drawn. Dr. Stuart Parkinson of Scholars for Global Responsibility, is the author of three of the above reports, concludes in one of them:
“I estimate that the carbon emissions of the world’s armed forces and the industries that supply their equipment in the region are 5% of the global total. But this does not include carbon emissions from the effects of war – it could be as high as 1%. So the total military carbon footprint could be 6%” .
At the time of writing, the University of Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance is Bitcoin estimated energy use at 97.9 terawatt-hours (TWh), with total emissions of 44.1 million tons of carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), which is approximately 0.09% of the world. 50,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions, and 55 to 65 times less than MIC.
While I was positively surprised and disturbed by the level of detail that the US, UK and some EU governments voluntarily disclosed to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the data that was revealed is little light on the scope. The table below shows the different levels of scope that must be considered when it comes to assessing greenhouse gas emissions, and is used as a basis for the definition of scope in the reference texts mentioned above.
Although there is significant detailed data on the first and second bands, this article will also look at the three band components, which tend to account for the lion’s share of total emissions. For example, while the first and second bands account for the general operation of an aircraft carrier, they do not take into account the design, construction and eventual disposal of said aircraft carrier which includes three calls.
The only explicit elements excluded from the figures are the social and environmental effects of the war itself, but some qualitative comments will be made on them at the conclusion of the article.
What do we know about the world’s largest armies?
“Fuel use in the Pentagon, climate change and the costs of warProfessor Neta Crawford has the public data available on US Army emissions, and goes further by calculating the US military’s carbon footprint. Although these numbers are older, the 2017 fiscal year figures, The latest numbers for 2019 Only some minor improvements are shown.
In terms of the first and second ranges Transparently reported by the US Department of Energy, the US military’s carbon footprint was about 56.9 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, down from 59 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2017. 20.7 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent stems from the “standard” emissions of all 560,000 military buildings In 500 locations nationally and internationally. Another 35.7 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent comes from its fuel use Over 50,000 ground vehicles and tanks, over 13,000 aircraft and nearly 500 warships. Another half a megaton of vital emissions was produced.
Quoting Professor Crawford:
“[A] The full accounting of total war-related and preparedness emissions includes the greenhouse gas emissions of the military industry. The military industry directly employs about 14.7% of all people in the manufacturing sector in the United States. Assuming that the relative volume of direct employment in the domestic US military industry is an indicator of the part of the military industry in the US industrial economy, the share of US greenhouse gas emissions from the US military industry is estimated to be approximately 15% of total US industrial greenhouse gas emissions.”
She notes that the 15% does not even allow for “indirect military jobs, and therefore indirect emissions associated with the military.”
I’d go easy with The TroopsTM and call it only 15%. This results in an additional 280 MtCO2e, more than half of which is directly attributable to the active war effort, plus 56.9 MtCO2e capped under Bands I and II. This brings the total US military emissions to 336.9 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, nearly seven times the impact of Bitcoin.
Dr Stuart Parkinson is the author of all the research papers covered in the following three sections on the militaries of the United Kingdom, the European Union and the rest of the world, respectively. His methodology is very similar to that of Professor Crawford, but he goes into more nuanced detail about the military-industrial complex of several countries. The salient points are as follows.
Similar to Crawford’s work,”Environmental impacts of the UK military sectorIt takes the UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) announced data from its report.Sustainable MOD, “ It includes an estimate of the scope of the three impacts: UK MOD suppliers, UK arms exporters, and indirect employment due to MOD spending or arms exports.
In terms of bands I and II, while more modest than in the US, MIC’s carbon footprint in the UK was about 11 million tonnes CO2e. 1.22 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent stems from the “record” emissions of all DoD properties, which covers 1.5% of the area of the United Kingdom (excluding foreign establishments). Another 1.81 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent comes from fuel use More than 5,000 ground vehicles and tanks, more than 700 aircraft and nearly 100 warships. Based on aggregated greenhouse gas reports for the UK’s 25 largest military suppliers and exporters, which employ 85,000 of the 110,000 jobs generated by DoD spending, 3.23 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent have been produced. Indirect employment accounted for 1.67 MtCO2e, with non-UK operations accounting for the remainder. Altogether, it represents approximately 1.4% of the UK’s total emissions.
at “Under the Radar: The Carbon Footprint of Europe’s Military SectorsParkinson’s uses the same methodology from the UK. Analysis, but using European data from sources such as NATO and individual countries and reported data from Europe’s largest military contractors. Data summarized below. A total of 24.83 MtCO2e was released by The European Union’s 27 armies.
rest of the world
at “Army Carbon BootParkinson reviews his data for the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, but quickly acknowledges that the exact figures for large military spending such as China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and India are much less transparent. As you can read in the introduction, he concludes that emissions from global military spending They result in 5% of global emissions in a ‘quiet’ year, and 6% or more during an active conflict year. With 50,000 tons of CO2 equivalent produced worldwide, this results in between 2,500 to 3,000 million tons of CO2-equivalent per year, depending on your definition of “quiet”.
The numbers, as usual, speak for themselves. Bitcoin, in the scheme of things, releases nothing compared to the positive value it provides, and compared to its older counterparts. While the old MIC is desperately changing all of their light bulbs to LEDs to slightly offset the emissions of its bomber fleets, Bitcoin miners and sovereign states are literally flocking to volcanoes for zero-emission mining. Many bitcoin miners are currently working on negative emissions energy by mining with flared methane. For Satoshi! There are serious people alive today who believe that it is possible to stop Bitcoin. I repeat, El Salvador’s government is literally figuring out how to go into a volcano in order to produce 95 megawatts of clean and cheap lava-powered energy for bitcoin mining – This may represent just under 1% of the total power currently consumed by the grid.
will MIC never It improves from an environmental point of view, not to mention the social and economic disaster and devastation it brings in its wake. Bitcoin is attached to a wall (or a methane vent or a volcano). This is. Nobody should die. I have little doubt that by 2025 25% of Bitcoin’s energy will come from stranded energy sources, and by the end of the decade Bitcoin will have negative emissions, Due to the amount of methane emissions to be offset. This will not be because bitcoin miners are environmentalists, but because it is the most profitable thing to do.