Monbiot: Stop building tanks

In a recent post, George Monbiot suggests diverting military spending to addressing the much more serious threats facing the world.  One area in which we could redirect the energy of our armed forces could be to retrofit existing housing stock which is incapable of keeping us warm without fossil fuels from which we should be weaning ourselves.

The rate of retrofit required is mind-numbing to contemplate.  If we continue to renovate homes at the current rate, we’d have to make every renovation between now and 2050 involve a super energy retrofit that reduced energy demand by 80% in order for the building sector to approach the emissions reductions all opposition parties aspire to.  We wouldn’t quite make it, because today’s emissions are about 26% higher than they were in 1990, the baseline year below which we’re supposed to cut emissions.  And of course, every new building built between now and 2050 would have to operate completely emissions-free.  I don’t see any of the other parties proposing a strategy that can address this challenge at the scale required.

We need a skilled group of trained renovators who can systematically transform the building stock in the country into stuff that can actually be used.  They need to be trained quickly, deployed effectively, and they need to work efficiently and systematically to get the job done.  Sounds like a great job for an army unit.

Monbiot is correct.  Not only does the military budget stand out as an area that can be leaned on to address more urgent needs, in a time of lean economics and urgent need, building for war while allowing Canadians to freeze in the dark seems crazy.

One response to “Monbiot: Stop building tanks”

  1. Terry writes:

    I agree the military and military budget could be used to address more urgent needs such as preventing Canadians from ‘freezing in the dark’.

    I agree we must wean ourselves of the need for fossil fuels because every molecule of oil burnt is more molecules of CO2 in our atmosphere (or oceans) and of course we all know (except for Harper) CO2 is killing our planet.

    I agree. We SHOULD be renovating buildings to increase their efficiency as this decreases a buildings energy requirement. I personally, almost every year for the past 30 years have renovated my home(s) to be more efficient.

    But, I do not agree that it is necessary. We actually only need to build enough renewable energy sources (solar cells and windmills) to produce enough power to heat our buildings without fossil fuels, however efficient or inefficient each building is.

    I guess we are both saying that the
    [total energy produced by renewable energy sources]
    [the total energy required to heat our buildings]
    should result in a number greater than zero.

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