For the Price of the Iraq War, The U.S. Could be running on nearly full Renewable Energy

April 12, 2013

WIND-WORKS: Opportunities Forsaken: The Iraq War and Renewable Energy

The US is noting a somber milestone this year: a decade of death and destruction following its invasion of Iraq.

As the country continues struggling with the moral dimension of its action, what has become clear is the staggering cost to future Americans and the opportunities forsaken here at home.

For it is future Americans who will pay for our rush to war—a war that was financed with debt. And it is this enormous debt that has laid siege not to Baghdad but to Washington, DC, where Austerians shout that the nation can no longer afford to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure because of the mounting interest on this debt.

On 4 July 2005, Paul Gipe posted the first in a series of articles on the lost opportunity for the massive development of  sources of energy in the US–lost because of our invasion of Iraq. See Beating Swords into Wind Turbines–or Solar Panels if You Like. The money we spent–or the debt we incurred–for war was money we would not invest in our own country to make the transition to a renewable future.

Now, after a decade, that bill has come due. What have we lost? What have we forsaken?

Disregarding the human cost, and disregarding our “other” war in Afghanistan, how much renewable energy could we have built with the money we spent? How far along the road toward the renewable energy transition could we have traveled?

The answer: shockingly far.

Cost of the Iraq War

The war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion through fiscal year 2013, according to Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. That’s trillion, with a “t”. Including future costs for veteran’s care, and so on, raises the cost to $2.2 trillion.

Because the war was financed with debt, we should also include a charge for interest on the debt. The Iraq war’s share of cumulative interest on the US debt through 2053 will raise the total cost of the war to $3.9 trillion.

To weigh what opportunities we lost, we’ll consider two conditions: the direct cost, and the direct cost plus interest…

Please continue reading by Paul Gipe:
http://www.wind-works.org/cms/index.php?id=496&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=2319&cHash=1af0d1c40ad89f3c76d47128ec3ade01

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