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U.S. Pentagon Emits More Greenhouse Gases Than Portugal, Study Finds

The Pentagon, which oversees the U.S. military, released about 59 million metric tons of carbon dioxide

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U.S., Pentagon, Greenhouse Gases
FILE - The Pentagon building is seen in Washington. VOA

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 Wednesday.

The Pentagon, which oversees the U.S. military, released about 59 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in 2017, according to the first study to compile such comprehensive data, published by Brown University.

The Pentagon’s emissions were “in any one year … greater than many smaller countries’ greenhouse gas emissions,” the study said.

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.

U.S., Pentagon, Greenhouse Gases
FILE – Air pollution hangs over the skyline as the sun rises over Beijing’s central business district, Jan. 14, 2013. VOA

“There is a lot of room here to reduce emissions,” Crawford said.

Request for comments to the Pentagon went unanswered.

Troop movements

Using and moving troops and weapons accounted for about 70% of its energy consumption, mostly due to the burning of jet and diesel fuel, Crawford said.

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It dwarfed yearly emissions by Sweden, which the international research project Global Carbon Atlas ranks 65th worldwide for its of CO2 emissions.

Pentagon emissions were higher than those of Portugal, ranked 57th by the Global Carbon Atlas, said Crawford.

China is the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the main gas responsible for climate change, followed by the United States.

The Pentagon called climate change “a national security issue” in a January report to Congress and has launched multiple initiatives to prepare for its impact.

U.S., Pentagon, Greenhouse Gases
The United States creates more planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Pixabay

Global temperatures are on course for an increase of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5.4-9.0 degrees Fahrenheit) this century, far overshooting a global target of limiting the increase to 2 C or less, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said in November.

Four degrees Celsius of warming would increase more than five times the influence of climate on conflict, according to a study published in Nature magazine on Wednesday.

Improvements

Crawford said the Pentagon had reduced its fuel consumption significantly since 2009, including by making its vehicles more efficient and moving to cleaner sources of energy at bases.

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It could reduce them further by cutting fuel-heavy missions to the Persian Gulf to protect access to oil, which were no longer a top priority as renewable energy gained ground, she said.

“Many missions could actually be rethought, and it would make the world safer,” she said. (VOA)

Next Story

U.S. House Votes to Take Trump Subpoena Fights to Court

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to allow lawsuits against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn

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U.S., Trump, Subponea Fights
Authorizing the lawsuits would allow leaders in the Democratic-led House to go forward with those steps if they choose to do so at a later date. VOA

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to allow lawsuits against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn over their refusal to cooperate with congressional subpoenas in connection with the investigation of Russian election interference.

Lawmakers want access to documents from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his probe into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice by trying to thwart the investigation, and for McGahn to testify about what took place inside the White House.

Authorizing the lawsuits would allow leaders in the Democratic-led House to go forward with those steps if they choose to do so at a later date.

McGahn was a key witness for Mueller, but has declined to testify before congressional committees, complying with the wishes of the White House. Mueller’s team interviewed McGahn for 30 hours, with the lawyer telling prosecutors that Trump pressured him to try to get Mueller ousted from overseeing the investigation, a demand he ignored.

U.S., Trump, Subponea Fights
FILE – Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 1, 2019. VOA

On Monday, the House reached a deal for the Justice Department to turn over crucial documents collected from the Mueller investigation.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the Justice Department would be opening Mueller’s “most important files to us, providing us with key evidence that the special counsel used to assess whether” Trump and others “obstructed justice or were engaged in other misconduct.”

Nadler said that all members of the Judiciary panel — Democrats and Republicans alike — would be able to see the documents, which he said “will allow us to perform our constitutional duties and decide how to respond to the allegations laid out against the president” by Mueller.

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Contempt vote

U.S., Trump, Subponea Fights
FILE – Former White House Counsel Don McGahn arrives at the Department of Justice in Washington, May 9, 2019. VOA

With the agreement, Nadler said he would withdraw a vote set for Tuesday whether to hold Barr in criminal contempt of Congress for failing to comply with the House committee’s subpoena for the information.

Nadler said he is giving the Justice Department “time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement. If the department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything we need, then there will be no need to take further steps.” But he said if the agreement collapses, it “will have no choice” but to pursue a court case to try to obtain the underlying documents from the Mueller probe that it is seeking.

Nadler’s committee and others in the House are pursuing several investigations of Trump, along with the obstruction allegations, including about his business affairs, taxes and administration policies during his 29-month presidency. Trump has vowed to fight all Democratic subpoenas, but Nadler’s agreement for information from the Mueller probe signals there also is room for negotiation rather than to let every dispute end in a legal fight in a courtroom.

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Impeachment question

U.S., Trump, Subponea Fights
FILE – House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gavels in a hearing on the Mueller report on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 2, 2019. VOA

On Monday, the Judiciary panel heard from former White House counsel John Dean, who was instrumental 46 years ago in the downfall of another U.S. president, Richard Nixon. At the time, Dean testified before Congress about White House corruption that led to Nixon’s resignation as he was about to be impeached.

Mueller declined to exonerate Trump of obstruction allegations after a 22-month investigation. But he said that in any event Trump could not have been charged because a Justice Department policy prohibits filing criminal charges against sitting presidents. Subsequently, Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said criminal charges against Trump were not warranted.

About a quarter of the 235 Democrats in the 435-member House, along with one Republican, have called for Trump’s impeachment or the start of an impeachment inquiry. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has resisted such calls, saying she prefers continued investigations by several House committees.

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Last week, the political news site Politico reported that Pelosi told Democratic colleagues that she does not want Trump impeached, but “in prison,” after facing criminal charges once he leaves office.

U.S., Trump, Subponea Fights
FILE – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference with Capitol Hill reporters in Washington, May 23, 2019. VOA

Trump retorted, “She’s a nasty, vindictive, horrible person.” (VOA)