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Cost of Iraq War equal to that of fixing climate change?

Posted by: Adam Aston on April 24, 2008

President Bush’s recent speech addressing climate change was met with derision internationally. One of his excuses for a go-slow approach is the estimated cost of converting the US economy to a low-carbon diet. Such fiscal cautiousness is of course one of Bush’s most erratic virtues, consistently absent when it comes to tax cuts and the spiraling cost of the war on Iraq. Yet in the wake of Bush’s non-action, an eye opening new report draws a stark link between something he’s happy to pay for (the war) and another he says is too expensive (the carbon problem): they’re about equal.

The analysis by Price of Oil, a left leaning non-profit, points out that “total US spending on the Iraq war could cover all of the global investments in renewable power generation that are needed between now and 2030 in order to halt current warming trends.” Further, the operations of the war — from transporting troops and goods, releases from munitions, to the high CO2 emissions released to make concrete to rebuild bombed-out buildings -– are enormous in their own right, equal in size to the annual output about an eighth all US vehicles. If totted up along side national emissions, war-related emissions would fall between New Zealand and Cuba. “The war each year emits more than 60% of all countries on the planet.” Find out more here,

What do you think is the best way to use these funds?

Reader Comments


April 25, 2008 10:16 PM

A few days ago I went through a similar exercise on the cost of the Iraq war, though from an absurdist pov. I wondered, "would it have been cheaper to bribe the Iraqi people to overthrown Hussein themselves?" Here's what I found...


April 28, 2008 12:47 PM

whatever you think about bush i don't care but the answers to the "carbon-crisis" could cripple our economy

Jason M

April 28, 2008 1:13 PM

To date, the burden of funding the fight against climate change has been the domain of state and local governments, and venture capitalists. In nine months that should change. In the meantime, the unfriendly policies of the white house have not slowed down VC investment.

American Sharecropper

April 29, 2008 10:49 AM

The absurd notion that there is a "global climate crisis" amid all contrarian evidence seems to substantiate the modern progressive view of total state control through crisis management. While I could not agree more about the needles war in Iraq, linking this tragedy in opposition to "climate change" is subtle lesson in controlling the sheeple. Consider two points, first: the leading advocate for "global warming" is a politician (the unfortunately obese and wealthy AlGore) Second: there is no constitutional authority for the POTUS to "halt current warming trends". Not that these details would deter torries like this author.


April 30, 2008 10:04 AM

American Sharecropper is wrong on several counts. 1) his claim of "all contrarian evidence" is (once again) shown to be more bluster than reality by the revelation that numerous scientists claimed by the doubter crowd are in fact endorsers of the theory that there is a climate crisis. See this list of scientists demanding that the record be set straight at DeSmogBlog.

2) Though Al Gore, and despite his many flaws, is the best known whistle-blower on the topic of global warming is an artifact of how the major media cover the issue and of the vagaries of public consumption of information. Numerous scientists have been struggling for years, many for decades, to raise the alarm. Recall that Bill McKibben's book The End of Nature, which was the wake up call for many (but not enough) people, was published in 1989. Already at that point there were many scientists--whose work was the basis for McKibben's reporting--who knew things were looking sketchy. Many Americans are uninterested in issues unless and until they are covered by Oprah and others in the business of entertainment. It's not Al Gore's fault that he is better fodder for Oprah than James Hansen or Stephen Schneider or the many climatologists who taught Gore everything he knows.

3) Actually, the case for constitutional authority to address global warming is easier to make than for many other things the government does. The strict view of the constitution is that the federal government is only authorized to maintain for the (military type) national defense and to regulate inter-state and international trade. Global warming is the result, primarily, of greenhouse gas pollution, which in turn is the result of ghg emitting industrial and consumer goods that trade across state and national borders. The most libertarian view of the constitution, if it is to be honest, must admit that the Feds have the authority to regulate cross-border trade in goods that emit greenhouse gas pollution. You don't have to like it, but there it is. That you don't WANT the Feds to regulate trade in polluting goods is a separate question from whether or not the Feds have constitutional authority to do so.


April 30, 2008 8:38 PM

Everything Bush does is met with derision internationally, and with good reason. I have a hard time thinking about anything that he's done that hasn't resulted in some kind of disaster including his "efforts" in helping people hit by a disaster. His fiscal policies, his foreign policies, his farm policies, his environmental policies, his energy policies are all disasters in themselves. The only thing he's really really good at is figuring out a way to somehow blame the Dems for all of our problems and convincing, for now, 28% of the population that he's the best thing that ever happened to this country.

Marc W. Halpert

May 1, 2008 10:45 AM

Postage rates are rising, paper costs soaring, business conditions are slowing your payments...why snailmail invoices when you can email them and get paid electronically, faster, without paper, postage or creating any garbage? see

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BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.

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