The US Military Must Be
Held Accountable for its Climate Impacts
Hon. Barbara Lee / US House of Representatives
WASHINGTON (November 22, 2021) — The United States military is the world’s largest institutional source of greenhouse gas emissions and produces more carbon emissions than over 120 countries. But for too long, it has been free from accountability for its severe climate impacts. It’s time for that to change, and Barbara Lee is leading the charge to hold the Pentagon accountable for its climate impact.
Barbara introduced a resolution to establish targets for reducing the US military’s emissions in line with the Paris climate agreement, starting with a mandate to monitor, track, and report greenhouse gas emissions from all of its operations.
We must do our part to immediately and drastically draw down the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and that includes monitoring and reducing the carbon footprint of the single largest institutional source of emissions on the planet — the US military.
There’s no time to wait. We’re already seeing the horrific consequences of the climate crisis — including the wildfires that ravaged California this year. The time for transformative action is now.
Thank you for signing on,
— Team Barbara Lee
ACTION: Barbara is leading this fight in Congress, but she’s counting on you to help drum up grassroots support for the resolution. Sign on today if you agree with Barbara’s plan to hold the Pentagon accountable for its climate impacts.
100-plus Peace, Green Groups Back
Resolution to Cut Pentagon’s Climate Impact
(November 4, 2021) — More than 100 peace and environmental groups are supporting a resolution issued Wednesday by US Congresswoman Barbara Lee demanding that the US military account for its carbon impact, and establish targets for reducing its emissions in line with the Paris climate agreement.
“We thank Rep. Barbara Lee for her leadership in introducing this resolution calling for accountability of the world’s largest institutional source of greenhouse gas emissions, the US Department of Defense,” James M. Rine of the Veterans For Peace (VFP) Climate Crisis & Militarism Project said in a statement of support for the California Democrat’s resolution. “This action is a continuation of her tireless efforts on behalf of veterans, peace, and mitigation of the climate crisis.”
“The climate crisis is past the point where
the US can just take symbolic action,
nor can we accept military greenwashing.”
The resolution states that the US military has a duty to “monitor, track, and report greenhouse gas emissions from all its operations, including combat operations, deployments, drone attacks, weapons production and testing, and base construction and functions.”
The document also says the US Defense Department must “set clear annual greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for both domestic and foreign activities that are consistent with the 1.5-degree target specified by the 2015 Paris agreement.”
The VFP-led statement is endorsed by national organizations including CodePink, Extinction Rebellion USA, Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace USA, National Lawyers Guild Military Task Force, Pax Christi USA, Public Citizen, RootsAction, and Win Without War, as well as state and local chapters of groups such as 350.org, Peace Action, and Sunrise Movement.
“The climate crisis is past the point where the US can just take symbolic action, nor can we accept military greenwashing,” Veterans for Peace Executive Committee president Adrienne Kinne said in a statement. “Veterans see first-hand the cost of war and it is imperative that we work to minimize the Pentagon’s carbon footprint.”
While Lee’s resolution — which is supported by 19 mostly progressive congressional Democrats — is a nonbinding “sense of the House” document—it is in support of the legal mandate in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requiring Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to submit a “report on the total level of greenhouse gas emissions for each of the last 10 fiscal years” to congressional armed services committees and the US Comptroller General’s office.
Last month, the Pentagon published a climate risk analysis that begins, “To keep the nation secure, we must tackle the existential threat of climate change.”
In a statement introducing the resolution, Lee said that “as President [Joe] Biden said this week at COP26 in Glasgow, we are at an inflection point in world history. The US must lead the effort to limit warming to just 1.5°C to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.”
“We must do our part to immediately and drastically draw down the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and that includes monitoring and reducing the carbon footprint of the single largest institutional source of emissions on the planet — the US military,” she added. “We are already seeing the horrific consequences of the climate crisis — the wildfires that ravaged my home state of California this year are just one example. The time for transformative action is now.”
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