By law, the U.S. military can't use fuels that have a worse climate impact than conventional oil. An amendment to a major military spending bill would rescind that law, allowing the U.S. military to buy oil made from, for example, West Virginia Sen. Joe "I literally put a bullet in the climate bill" Manchin's forthcoming coal-to-liquids plant.
If the oil that comes from overseas is ever cut off, this change will be good news (at least in the short term) for the U.S. military, which uses more oil than any other organization on the planet. Except, less than half our oil comes from overseas, and most of it is from Canada and Mexico, so how realistic is that?
Over the long run, of course, this is very bad news for the climate: Pretty much the worst case scenario for the future of civilization is that peak oil forces us to use the fuels with the highest greenhouse-gas emissions, leading to an unstoppable downward cycle of fuel poverty, extreme weather, and resource wars. The U.S. military knows this, which is why the Navy is trying to green its fleet and its scenario planners list climate change as a bigger threat than terrorism.
But they’re not making the laws. And the people who are apparently only care that the moldy rind of humanity that's left after the great die-off gets to use whatever damn fuel source it wants. DON'T TREAD ON ME!
- Bill Allows Military to Use High-Carbon ‘Liquid Coal’, <i>The New York Times</i>
Get Grist in your inbox