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A sick graph – Iraq war spending vs. spending on renewable energy

Avatar for Dan Hahn
Published on 10/30/2007 in
Updated 12/30/2014

 A sick graph of renewable energy spending versus Iraq war spending

These figures are in millions. The source for energy R&D expenditures is from the National Council for Science and the Environment. Take a look here. Though the war in Iraq now costs about $120B a year, two authors (one a Nobel prize winner) estimates the total cost of this war exceeds 2 Trillion Dollars.

“Accrued liabilities for U.S. federal employees’ and veterans’ benefits now total $4.5 trillion. Indeed, our debt for veterans’ health and disability payments has risen by $228 billion in the past year alone…The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the interest payments on the money borrowed to finance the Iraq war will total $264 billion to $308 billion.”

That $2,000,000,000,000? Well, that amount of money could’ve built solar thermal plants here that would have provided energy for 2/3rds of our nation’s energy demand.

If you found this information eye-opening, interesting, or evocative, please throw us a bone or two (or ten). I’m a starving grad-student, Dave is just getting going selling solar in San Francisco, and we need all the support we can get to drive more traffic to the site, get more people educated about clean technology, and persuade legislators to further secure our energy independence.

If you found this post eye opening, please send us an email. We’d love to hear from you.

Last modified: December 30, 2014

113 thoughts on “A sick graph – Iraq war spending vs. spending on renewable energy

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  5. Avatar for Tanisha Tanisha says:

    Stunning story there. What occurred after? Good

  6. Avatar for Get the Data Get the Data says:

    Thanks for finally talking about >Iraq war spending vs. spending on renewable energy <Liked it!

    1. Avatar for Dave Llorens Dave Llorens says:


  7. Avatar for why solar energy why solar energy says:

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    me. And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  8. Avatar for Water Softeners Water Softeners says:

    Interesting website, i read it but i still have a few questions. shoot me an email and we will talk more becasue i may have an interesting idea for you.

  9. Avatar for Jimbo Jimbo says:

    I am a Republican. However I am tired of the US spending money and our soldier’s lives on people who don’t respect our sacrifices for them. Those funds should be spent on solar energy, research and training of US citizens. Eliminate our dependence on oil and those countries will wither away.

  10. Avatar for D.Clayton D.Clayton says:

    We in the renewable sector have been sabotaged by Big Oil and there defense contractor buddies. Imagine if those funds were available as part of the programs we seeing today. The world is what we make it. Especially in the US. Every half witted American knows we fight these wars for oil(Afghan, Irag). The 2 most important things in a civilized world= Energy(this includes food) and water. If it where about security the matrix would dictate a totally different response. We as renawable proprieters can also wage war. We have the Sun, Wind, Water on our side. This tech will win eventually, because there is no alternative except death.

  11. Avatar for Megan Megan says:

    Actually the lives we change of the women and children and men in Iraq is well worth the war. Women are treated like dirt over there and if we could bring in a vestige of decency and humanity to that part of the world what type of cost can you put to that. It’s not all about oil or business or politics, it’s about people.

  12. Avatar for Mc Doogall Mc Doogall says:

    Just wait until the total cost of the oil quest for the oil in Turkmenistan, just north of Afghanistan is in! Electric cars will seem cheap! But: we are not in control! Big money, in big oil runs the show -we are but the peonies, destine to die serving their whims, their international game, and great sport for them, in offices filled with maps, pretty secretaries, information and air-conditioners, and only a short drive to a glorious McMansion home in an SUV’s with huge engines! For them, life can get no better, for us, no worse! China, will change this picture and apparently, not necessarily for the betterment of American proletariat!We are pawns, very small and unimportant pawns in a much bigger game than our xenophobic hegemonies let us see! This really is bigger than Elvis! even Chevrolet! goddamn! this is bigger than the Marine Corps! China will be the spoiler in Turkmenistan, they have already claimed that oil for themselves, and they are a hell of a lot closer to it than the New York shysters ever were! Watch the missiles come out for this battle to run your V-8 gas-guzzler and the air force jets!America is on the cusp of disaster and presses on, because it cannot let go and change course, China and most of Asia knows this and they stand in line for the booty – a “Third World” mercenary nation, an Asian owned and operated protectorate of China! We are there now, and cannot turn back, and admit our follies of the past! too little too late and soon over! We fade into the sunset, Stetson hat in place, a laughing-stock! – Just ask Timmy Geithner, laughed out of the Chinese auditorium spouting his American Superiority spiel to Multi lingual, multi discipline Chinese post graduates and PhD’s in his Yiddish Americanese,he couldn’t even address these folks in the new international language, Mandarin, instead he used Yiddish-American colloquialisms to explain from his Masters degree point of view to the PhD’s of China how the world was to be – and lost Obama all hope of massive loans from China to finance Obama’s plans!That we failed to get all of the oil from Iraq is no mystery! That we will fail in this next Turkmenistan/Afghanistan pipeline bullshit is a forgone sort of notion, and that we will follow Israel into the sea in the Middle East is apparent, but for fvck sakes! Why?

  13. Avatar for Dawood Mamedoff Dawood Mamedoff says:

    This war is the second expensive for U.S. after the World War II. Here I’ve tried to summarize all costs of the Iraq war for Americans:

  14. Avatar for Adam Ma Adam Ma says:

    wow so many comments… I agree with Hunter Young all he said. Hi Hunter you play Halo? Caz your email..

  15. Avatar for Hunter Young Hunter Young says:

    I don’t know what you people are talking about, but at this point, solar energy is a stupid idea at this time. it is NOT cost efficient, and will NOT solve anything, as coal plants will have to run on back up. Nuclear is a more cost effective solution.
    and by the way, don’t bring bush into this, or the war in Iraq. War is a necessary evil.
    Any comments contact me at [email protected]

  16. Avatar for Sam Harriman Sam Harriman says:

    I got my instructor to bring up solarpowerrocks on the overhead in class the other day. Check your metrics. The buzzard denied having a link on his site. I’m working on it man.

    @ Jack Straw,
    Yes. I think solar panels on the twin towers would have made a difference. I think solar panels on my house would have made a difference. I think solar panels on your house would have made a difference. We’re in this together. peace

  17. Avatar for cooler choice cooler choice says:

    man that sucks more money is needed to help improve our environment

  18. Avatar for David David says:

    “The United states installed more wind power capacity in 2005 and 2006 than every other country in the world except for Germany and Spain.” – John

    Germany and Spain are much smaller countries with much smaller GDPs ($3.3 and $1.4 trillion, respectively). The US should be doing more with its status as a world leader, and the government is the key to that action. Our country commands $13.8 trillion in GDP (according to the CIA World Factbook), and our government has been piddlefarting around for the last 25 years. We should be installing the most non-fossil fuel energy of any country in the world, AND putting more money into efficiency technology and installation, AND developing better batteries or capacitors to store power for system down times. That is all I care to say at this point on this topic (although there is more to be said).

  19. Avatar for Clay Clay says:

    we needed to go to iraq. Renewable energy cost more than oil does. look at other stats.

  20. Avatar for Caitlyn Caitlyn says:

    well,,, this issue is a very ineresting subject to wright about judging on how many people commented!!!!! :p

    yes, i believe everyone should help if they have the courage but not the srength.

  21. Avatar for Gerry Francol Gerry Francol says:

    I mean PRIZE.

  22. Avatar for Gerry Francol Gerry Francol says:

    Your graph is quite explicit. Why did you let Boo-sh take the rize he did not win honourably? What else can one expect from a thief? You guys were this close to become another banana-country dictatorship. Good luck now on.

  23. Avatar for Adam Adam says:

    Indeed, from May 12, 2006:
    “US clears $663bn for defence policies”
    THE US House of Representatives today passed a bill for more than half a trillion dollars in defence programs for next year, including another $US50 billion ($64.7 billion) “bridge fund” for the Iraq war.”

    ” The House overwhelmingly rejected an amendment to slash in half the Bush administration’s missile defence program – set to get $US9.3 billion next year – leaving it just to focus on the most achievable technologies.

    Democrats argue the program to build a missile-intercepting system has failed most critical tests, while costing about $US100 billion ($129.39 billion) so far.”

    From correspondents in Washington

  24. Avatar for Adam Adam says:

    Anyone considered that this immense cost is still just a fraction of the USA’s annual defense budget? (which, last I heard, was in the order of USD$400 billion a year. Excluding Iraq!)

  25. Avatar for Leslie Leslie says:

    I like that, how a picture is worth a thousand words, plus or minus a bit.

    “I think they’re going to take all this money that we spend now on war
    and death –”
    “And make them spend it on life.”
    — Edith Keeler and Kirk, “The City on the Edge of Forever”,
    stardate unknown.

  26. Avatar for Jeff - Jeff - says:

    Awesome – very funny, very poignant visual representation…even if it makes me think my country’s priorities are screwed

  27. Avatar for Jon Jon says:

    Going to war over oil was evidently unnecessary

  28. Avatar for Chad Chad says:

    This graph certainly indicates that we as a country have much to do to harness alternative energy. Please do some research prior to making ridicous statements. You must look at the big picture as an Economist would do. I only had 4 or 5 course in Economics but you don’t have to be a Ph.D to understand what dollars spent in Iraq means for the USA. Support Obama and we will see a plan come to life that will bring political power back to ordinary Americans who are concerned with keeping their job, sending kids to good schools, healthcare when needed just to name a few areas of concern.

    Please start to think about our country as a whole competing with foreign lands for prosperity and security.

  29. Avatar for Lori Lori says:

    OK, I am so sick and tired of all the crap. We are exploring solar energy. It is my understanding that we have HUGE solar panels in the desert and the ENVIRONMENTALISTS are trying to stop the installation of the power lines that would allow us to harvest the energy that is created by solar panels. Oh and by the by, the “windmills” the people that are trying to install to harvest wind energy are also being blocked by said environmentalists for reasons such as – it will block the view, harm the environment/animals. Heaven forbid we should try hydro electric power. SO my question is – if solar power is prohibited because of power lines, wind turbines are forbidden because of environmental impact AND hydro electricity is verboten because of the salmon and GOD FORBID we use carbon based material or nuclear energy – what in the H*** are we supposed to use?

    OH I know, if we don’t do anything at all about the rise of Fundamental Islam, the jihadist will oblige us, take over our country and we will all be riding camels and living by camp fires anyway.
    (Can you sense a bit of frustration?)

  30. Avatar for David Lotsoff David Lotsoff says:

    About all the deaths in Iraq… Have you checked how many people die in car accidents each day then compare that with how many die in Iraq each day. If the war was for oil… why aren’t we getting any?

  31. Avatar for brandon brandon says:


  32. Avatar for Charles Charles says:

    This makes perfect sense. It is cheaper for the government, who has ties in the domestic oil industry, to spend other people’s money to secure that industry and their future profits. You and I pay for them. Go solar and alternative energy!

  33. Avatar for Randy Murch Randy Murch says:

    Being energy self sufficient is the only way to end the war in the middle east. Without the demand for oil in the middle east the power that they now have will subside and they will go back to killing each other as they have done for thousands of years. We can not sit back and wait for others to make the move towards solar. I made the investment and power my home by solar, it’s clean, quite and renewable energy that anyone can harvest for the taking. Just do it!!!!!!!!

  34. Avatar for Jonah Jonah says:

    im at school and no one can belive it

  35. Avatar for Andy Andy says:

    We are not getting oil from the Iraq war. We are getting security, something no solar panel will give us. The graph is a lie anyway. 110 Billion is the total war on terrorism. Iraq is a fraction of that.

  36. Avatar for Snoopy Snoopy says:

    I think America is an idiot for spending money on its war for oil when we could just use soalr power.

  37. Avatar for Lucy Lucy says:

    Hi, this page is incredibly helpful for my geography project. It’s on Iraqi citizens having to leave their country and go to Jordan to escape the militia and to seek refuge there. I was just wondering, couldn’t they spend the money that they are using on the war for humanity efforts in Iraq? Then the war would be over, the country would be helped and America could get back to spending the money previously reserved for the war in Iraq to find out more about renewable energy such as solar power. I don’t really understand why they are fighting anymore when the solution is pretty simple and would help both America and Iraq at the same time.

  38. Avatar for Lin Ennis Lin Ennis says:

    Great info (and I love the look of your blog!). I Googled war versus homeland spending for a blog post I’m writing today about a single father losing his home to predatory lending. So I’ll add solar, too, as one more thing at home we could be spending money on to make America stronger.

    Don’t you think if we had food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and satisfying labor we could protect one another and our borders with our own hands? Not the Twin Towers from airplane bombs, but from our enemies within, and coming in?

  39. Avatar for Pedro Pedro says:

    What I don’t understand is why the most powerful army and mercinaries in the world are a afraid of a few Afghan opium farmers. Take it all. And what they don’t use, they can sell. We’d all be a happier bunch.

  40. Avatar for tim tim says:

    I tried my darnedest to back Bush before the war, you know, the WMD and all. I believed them. Even when we went in, I tried to be optimistic. But everyone has their limits. This graph makes me sick indeed. Opportunities wasted….people wasted…money wasted….Lord have mercy

  41. Avatar for Leon Grayu Leon Grayu says:

    oh, and also..this is a American LED campaign…their leading the UN…the greater part of the civilizard world is fighting in iraq. and to those bitchin about how much in taxes they are gonna pay for this, remeber…the government doesnt just make money from taxes -_-;

    1. Avatar for rebelyell rebelyell says:

      Geeez – I have said for decades that I’m worried about our country when folks like Bush, Ditto-heads and the like are mainsream ya gotta wonder. But your comments (and comments by folks who are in your camp) are really really very scarry. It shows how little you actually use your mind for critical thinking and how the facts somehow seem to elude you.
      Why and when did the US get its collective head sideways up its ass??

  42. Avatar for Leon Grayu Leon Grayu says:

    i totally agree, what is the price of freedom?

    1. Avatar for David David says:

      Over a trillion wasted taxpayer dollars and thousands of wasted American lives, apparently.

  43. Avatar for Zachary Brayman Zachary Brayman says:

    you guys are effin stupid…the companies behind the development of alternative resources have as much money as they need. if we all of a sudden dump in 1 trillion dollars into alternative resource development, we wont be any better off than we are today. Alternative resources are still on the thinking stage, and im sorry, but money does not help you think better.

    Also, yes the war in Iraq is directly helping secure our country from terrorism. if we let the terrorists run free after 9/11 and went oh well, well just keep a better eye then it would have happaned over and over again, costing more and more american lives.

    Sure, the war does not directly affect your life but that just shows the ignorance of you. We voted for this war to happen! so we can’t just say “oh shoot, it doesn’t look like its going to well, lets bail. what kind of spirit is that??”

    this graph is nothing but pure propaganda. Why didn’t you put it up against the kyoto accord and solving global warming? because you would have noticed that that the US government plans to spend 3 trillion by the year 2050 to battle global warming to slow down the affect by .50 degrees!!!!

    Also, i ask you…what is the price of freedom?

  44. Avatar for JAM JAM says:

    Thank God a president can’t be elected twice…. I’m only 13 and my parents generation and the generations before them have ruined my world!!! Why don’t we take some of that money put into the war, put it into some solar panels to not have to pay for more oil to be sent over seas, have the government pay people to have solar panels on their roofs through an EEG law like Germany, use net metering to spread out the energy collected from certain families (which would cut the cost of the electricity for the family doing the net-metering), then use the money that is saved to put it into the war? I know that we can’t get out Iraq since we took out their government, and then they’d fall into anarchy (and that would not be a good thing) but they can’t collapse because “we need” the oil from them!!! And then their is the conflict of humans not liking change, that we can’t grasp the idea that “just because I do it doesn’t mean it affects anybody else” is completely untrue. Our government needs to figure out something, and quick. Or else I’m going to have to pay a LOT for taxes….

    1. Avatar for David David says:

      “Thank God a president can’t be elected twice…”


      You might want to check your facts there ;D. Great ideas otherwise though.

  45. Avatar for Julia Julia says:

    what are we doing to our planet?
    I’m 11 years old, what is the planet going to be like when I grow up?
    I don’t see how the war in Iraq is helping me.
    I can’t wait for a new president!!!!

  46. Avatar for PB PB says:

    First of all, there should be a US citizenship test with one question:

    The Iraq War was an action taken for this reason:
    A. to improve the security of our country and that region.
    B. the opposite of A.

    Anyone who answers A should be immediately shipped out of the country with the word “Rejected” stamped on their forehead.

    Now having said that, this is not a very good chart because everyone knows the war has cost us an ungodly amount of capital (financial and human) and ruined the armed forces for many years to come. That has nothing to do with R&D though. There is no way politicians will vote for R&D because the benefits come down the road, when have long left office. The only exception is when it is some pork barrel project. So, fact is, the money would not have been spent on energy R&D in any case. I would not mind having my share back in own pocket though.

  47. Avatar for Brian Brian says:

    What fascinates me is the division of polictical bias over responsible judgement.
    When are people going to overcome their divisive political agendas and decide on what’s best for the human race..? Do those of you greedy political capitolists think you’ll breath any better without the tree huggers..? And tree huggers, we already know that thew dollar trumps all, so think like they do and find a way for them to profit from conservation we yurn and we’ll ALL win!

    These arguments are exactly what’s wrong with America. Let’s leave them to an unresponsive government. Its up to us…the real America to find common ground amoung ourselves and drivethe agendac before they divide and conquer us. Then it WILL be too late!

  48. Avatar for JACK(CANADA) JACK(CANADA) says:

    This is not just a US problem. Get your noses out of your own asses and see that the entire world is being affected by corporate greed for profits and power and the governments around the world are supporting them. Even our own politians in Canada are being caught with thier hands in corporate pockets. Saying that it’s not the government’s job to solve this energy problem gives them license to do nothing(which is the one thing they do well). Hydrogen is the on the top of my list for much more research(as well as solar, wind, geothermal and tidal and not weapons development)and the politicians could easily direct more into grants for the private institutions that are doing the real work. Hydrogen vehicles have been on the roads for two decades, windmills were used hundreds of years ago. Changing a light bulb in your home to save energy is completely negated by lighting a baseball park for a night game. Our priorities have become lost supporting a suicidal lifestyle and power drunk politicians and corporations. Stop the wars and save the world please.

  49. Avatar for Robert Burns Robert Burns says:

    Amazing people still think they can vote and obtain a solution to complex problems (renewable energy and armed conflict) by electing such “representatives” as Hillary, Rudy et al. As a species we need to rethink our goals and the first goal should be survivability. The U.S. and other national states have elected or have inherited leaders / dictators and power structures that practice cultures of destruction. Greed and death are the cause and result- ultimately it will lead to the death of all living creatures and plant life on Earth. If there is enough living plant and animal matter left, perhaps in 250,000,000 – 500,000,000 years a new set of inhabitants will abide on this planet and not have to compete with moralistic critters who always war over their money, their power and their gods. No more Islamofacists nut balls like bin Laden and no Neo-Christo-Facists like Bush and Cheney.

  50. Avatar for Doug Doug says:

    Impeach Bush, vote Obama!

  51. Avatar for Mark Mark says:

    If we ever get our priorities right there are solutions! The above link to a page on my web site contains an equation which shows how we can reduce our consumption of oil. Using this equation I figure we can reduce our demand of oil by 96% (in the transportatiion sector atleast) while improving our quality of life, if done right. By the way, using solar power to charge electric and plug in hybrids vehicles is part of the solution. I warn you though, “The Hydrogen Economy” is a diversion. We should have gotten suspecious when Pres. Bush championed it. The actual solution will be more complex than relying on one thing.

    Anyway, my personal opinion is that we should elect Bill Richardson as our next President, then we might actually reduce oil imports more than what high pump prices will do on their own.

  52. Avatar for Mark Mark says:

    If we ever get our priorities right there are solutions! The above link to a page on my web site contains an equation which shows how we can reduce our consumption of oil. Using this equation I figure we can reduce our demand of oil by 96% (in the transportatiion sector atleast) while improving our quality of life, if done right. And using solar power to charge electric and plug in hybrids vehicles is part of the solution. I warn you though, ‘The Hydrogen Economy” is a diversion. We should have got suspecious when Pres. Bush championed it. The actual solution will be more complex than that.

    Anyway, my personal opinion is that we should elect Bill Richardson as our next president, then we might actually reduce oil imports more than pump price is causing us to do.

  53. Avatar for Lilly L Lilly L says:

    whats even more unfortunate is that this graph is surprising to us. they do a good job of keeping stuff like this on the dl…

  54. Avatar for HippyGourmet HippyGourmet says:

    How many Solar Chariots could we have built we wonder?

  55. Avatar for Thursday Thursday says:

    jean –

    It does cost money to buy and hook up solar panels – in many regions, it’s more expensive than standard electricity.

    However, there is no region where a simple solar water-heating system does not reduce the power draw significantly; and it is also cost effective, returning its value often within the first two years.

  56. Avatar for pegleghippie pegleghippie says:

    eye-opening and devastating

    1. Avatar for Madison Madison says:

      Eye opening, devastating and immoral. Bush and his cronies should be charged with crimes against humanity

  57. Avatar for Lynn Lynn says:

    Can any of us say we are conserving recycling and seeking alternatives to our potential?? I know we recycle in a community that doesn’t, we don’t conserve as much as we can and alternatives sure my husband and i are looking at solar and wind power for powering our home but it is messy and complicated and the townships frown upon new ideas that they have to inspect.
    Also, Did anyone else notice that on the news critics were saying that the use of the hydrogen fueled car isn’t going to really go anywhere mostly because it will need stations to fill up on hydrogen so a refueling structure will need to be in place and that is hard to do. I noticed AS soon as more people started to use Diesel most stations transferred one pump for Diesel. Who… besides the oil companies… is to say they can’t do the same for hydrogen? I believe the lack of foresight is unbelievable! All the talk of change and alternative fuels… some highschool kids came up with a soybean fueled car! So where is the agenda? Politicians are saying it can’t be done because they don’t want it to be done. Until the government wants us to use alternative fuels and be serious about it there is always going to be criticism not to use alternatives. Right now this country is only doing enough to say they are doing something and it isn’t working.

  58. Avatar for jean jean says:

    I wonder how many would chooose to have even a partial solar set up than pay to have our fine young men and women shot at maimed and killed. Ever notice solar is priced out of reach for fixed incomes?

  59. Avatar for What is Energy? What is Energy? says:

    What is new here? This is something that we’ve known about since the second year of the war. Now that it’s a graph it’s understood?

  60. Avatar for Calgary Dude Calgary Dude says:

    “That $2,000,000,000,000? Well, that amount of money could’ve built solar thermal plants here that would have provided energy for 2/3rds of our nation’s energy demand”

    Actually, according to your calculations at the provided link, it would be 3 TIMES the nation’s current energy demand. There would be 2/3rds of the budget LEFT OVER AFTER the entire nation’s energy demand is satiated with solar power plants.

  61. Avatar for Jasco Jasco says:

    Bush Jr. Is why you shouldn’t tell a retarded child he can be anything when he grows up.

  62. Avatar for L-girl L-girl says:

    “It’s clear to all of us by now that the Clinton administration did so very little in the area of renewable resource development that they significantly hampered our national progress in this arena.”

    What year will it be when some people stop blaming the sorry state of the US on Clinton? I was no fan of his presidency (a Republican dressed up like a liberal), but the neocons were in office before and since, and they command the most powerful executive branch ever seen in the US. How can anyone in their right mind still blame Clinton??

    “it’s clear that President Bush’s priorities are clearly in the right place. First, safety of the homeland. Then, lesser things.”

    Are there people on the planet that still believe the occupation of Iraq has something to do with “safety of the homeland”? How very, very sad. And dangerous.

  63. Avatar for B Anthony B Anthony says:

    Is there a higher resolution version of this graph? I’d love to make a poster!

  64. Avatar for bob bob says:

    WaPo has an article this morning giving a $1.5 billion price tag so far.

  65. Avatar for Chuck Chuck says:

    Incredible how sophisticated, intelligent, and normally rational cultures, capable of amazing technological feats can be mislead by incompetent zealots, and be damaged severly by their arrogant wars; all because of those willing to exploit people’s fears, and push their lunatic schemes (ie – war in Iraq; Middle East Beachheads) to change the world. And now we’re stuck with the mess.
    Everyone’s running so fast to keep up these day, few have time to see the damage being done, or to understand it fully. This graph gets to the point – private resarch added wouldn’t be a molehill by comparison either. I was aware the war was incredibly costly – but this really shines the light on it!! It’s funny though – what we need more than research (though that definitely is needed!) is an economy that counts the risks and externalities. So much could be done so easily if market forces had an honest broker (ie – honest Government oversight), we could easily cut our energy consumption by 90%. I’ve done it, and made houses warm, kept the air fresh, and cut the fuel consumption by 80%; with a little added solar, it could easily by 90 – 100%. That in a severely cold climate!!
    Honest government requires reform to the campaign finance process, and citizen oversight. Term limits. Diverse media & diverse media ownership. Root causes need to be addressed before we can make real progress.
    But we can all do our own first, and set the example. It’s easy, fun, and saves both lives and money.

  66. Avatar for Sean Sean says:

    General public is seriously under media influence very badly.

  67. Avatar for John John says:

    This is in response to Duane Read (10/31/2007) and Paul (11/6):

    Duane: “It’s clear to all of us by now that the Clinton administration did so very little in the area of renewable resource development that they significantly hampered our national progress in this arena.”

    ***There is no way anything like that would have passed because congress and the lobbies that controlled it wouldn’t have allowed it.

    “While we’ve probably spent a bit more in Iraq than we had hoped, it’s clear that President Bush’s priorities are clearly in the right place. First, safety of the homeland. Then, lesser things.”

    ***You, as with most of the American public, are grossly uninformed about the state of the world’s energy affairs. The primary reason we have seen oil prices jump from 20 to 96$ per barrel in the last 5 or 6 years is that we have more demand chasing less supply. OPEC’s spare production capacity is almost nil at this point, and many now don’t trust them when they promise to increase production. Numerous reports, sponsored by our government, international agencies, and by private researchers, clearly show that supplies of the easy-to-get oil are on the decline. We had better find alternatives, especially sustainable ones, if we care about our way of life, let alone our childrens.

    What’s the other thing that happens when oil goes way up? Poorer people, both here and especially abroad, suffer. They can’t afford the basics. This can breed resentment and finger-pointing – making them vulnerable to terrorist recruitment. That feeds right back into the “Safety of the Homeland” issue.

    You should look up the USDOE-funded report often referred to as “The Hirsh Report”, at least.

    To say that this is a “lesser” issue suggests you REALLY need to get informed.

    Paul (11/6/2007): “Alternative energy research isn’t the responsibility of the US government. Why don’t they bother to include private research dollars on the chart? Because there’s an agenda here. Also, the soldiers and equipment used in Iraq wouldn’t vanish if we weren’t in Iraq. They would still be paid and utilized elsewhere.”

    *** Not the responsibility of the US Govt.?! Industry has done a great job so far, I guess, huh? Part of the role of Govt is to safeguard the people and their livlihood, I think you’ll agree.

    Are you kidding? The attrition and damage rate to personnel and equipment in Iraq is tremendous compared to our tempo and mission prior to Iraq. Yes, the military loses aircraft, humvees and helicopters during training and peacetime missions every year. But the numbers are not comparable. But now we’re losing and a lot of men and women with lives and families. Are you honestly saying that the close to 4000 dead US service personnel and 30,000 plus casualties would have occurred in some other fashion over the same period if we weren’t in Iraq?

    You can argue that the war in Iraq has merit on some level, or that we owe it to the Iraqis to stabilize it enough now that we broke it (remember Colin Powell?).

    But to give you flip comments belittling both the expenditure of my tax dollars, and the sacrifices of the coalition forces over there on your behalf is offensive. I am guessing you are not one of those fighting and/or got less than 50% on your ASVAB.
    It is people like you that would give me serious pause before I contemplated putting a uniform on again. You don’t deserve the sacrifice.

  68. Avatar for Cliff Wirth Cliff Wirth says:

    Solar power rocks, but I’m more a fan of passive solar, as the electric grid will fail and solar electricity will not be useful. It is a long story, but worth reading:

  69. Avatar for asdf asdf says:

    To those who are defending this chart, or the people whose policies made this chart a reality – congratulations!

    You are doing the bidding of these fuckers. Just don’t say “uh, sorry” when we say “I told you so.”

    I must say, bravo to the men who were able to brainwash people into thinking advancing war was a better choice than advancing our nations civilization and well being. To anybody who truly believes the terrorists are more of a threat than that of WWII or the Russians, who had 30,000+ ACTUAL nuclear weapons pointed at us (as opposed to the terrorists, who MIGHT have a few) you have laid over and done what they want. That’s some courage you’ve got there, pansy.

  70. Avatar for london eyrie london eyrie says:

    Paul: ‘Alternative energy research isn’t the responsibility of the US government. Why don’t they bother to include private research dollars on the chart? Because there’s an agenda here.’

    You know what Paul? ‘private research dollars’ don’t appear on the chart because where they exist they are so few. Most of the kind of basic research needed to find alternative sources of energy (ie free-thinking investigation into how nature works) happening at colleges and in private industry is funded by the government. Other funding comes from philanthropic trusts – mainly towards medical research, but industry generally doesn’t take that kind of risk with their own profits.

    It would be interesting to look at research into ‘suicidal’ forms of energy supply (ie: nuclear, fossil, biofuels etc) vs ‘life-promoting’ forms (ie: various ‘clean’ technologies like solar and wind – the graph won’t be as dramatic as war vs research but we’ll see where government priorities really lie.

    A lot of that war expense has magically turned back into ‘private dollars’ and disappeared into a multitude of back pockets…yet to be seen funding energy research.

  71. Avatar for Uncle B Uncle B says:

    A bunch of turban-topped bums hanging around the oil wells in the middle east are no match for American Forces. Stop the pantie-waste bullshit and bomb the bastards to hell, unless of course the military/industrial complex is using the middle east to develop weapons, make fortunes and otherwise entertain corrupt politicians that are on the take. Someone is making money otherwise it would stop and soldiers wouldn’t have to die.

  72. Avatar for Steve Richardson Steve Richardson says:

    Think about the fact that we pay about $3 a gallon for gas right now however we will eventually have to pay for this war with our taxes which is projected to cost 2 trillion. 300 million into 2 trillion comes close to $7,000 per person. That means gas is really closer to probably $10 or $15 a gallon right now. The cost benefit analysis of this war shows it’s been a complete disaster for regular people, however the big oil and gas corporations LOVE instability because they can jack up the prices which is why their profits are skyrocketing! If you can control the flow of oil like you control the flow of diamonds, then you can control the prices which is what is going on. The oil companies want to control the oil supply and shut off some of the spickets, so they can control the supply and cost, and rip us off. When we took over Iraq’s oil fields the first thing they did was shut off the spickets so they could increase the price of gas.

    In a nut shell, the average person is losing $7,000 on this war while the big oil companies are making out like bandits. It’s atransfer of wealth from the average Jo to the disgustingly rich.

  73. Avatar for Sandy Copeland Sandy Copeland says:

    This graph is a little disturbing, its unfortunate that Americans are allowing their government to waste so much money on a war that may or may not be justified. Consider the BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile costs 1.3 million dollars, during the 1991 Persian Gulf conflict the US Navy used 288 of them. The company that manufactures the BGM-109 Tomahawk, Raytheon posted revenues of 20.3 billion dollars in 2006. Raytheon’s chairman and CEO William Swanson according to the Boston Globe had a pay package of 7 million dollars in 2005.

  74. Avatar for Jerry Nelson Jerry Nelson says:

    Ai yi yi yi yi! This boggles the mind. How did the inmates get control of the asylum? I knew it was bad but this puts a whole other perspective on it.

    To Wardo: That is 500 Million Dollars NOT 500!

  75. Avatar for Peter Pawan Peter Pawan says:

    Hey, I wanna do your logo, It would be helpfull if someone send me some info on what you want it to be like… you know… abstract idea of what you have in mind…

  76. Avatar for Micah Micah says:

    Cheney and Addington have got to go.

  77. Avatar for Paul Paul says:

    Alternative energy research isn’t the responsibility of the US government. Why don’t they bother to include private research dollars on the chart? Because there’s an agenda here.

    Also, the soldiers and equipment used in Iraq wouldn’t vanish if we weren’t in Iraq. They would still be paid and utilized elsewhere.

    1. Avatar for Pedro Pedro says:

      Like they should. Duh.

  78. Avatar for Eric Eric says:

    I was only 5 years old then but was peanut butter $50/jar when Jimmy Carter was president?

  79. Avatar for Giggle Bunny Giggle Bunny says:

    Yes because the Clinton administration just totally screwed America over…that’s sarcasm btw

  80. Avatar for James Kelley James Kelley says:

    Carl Rody said: “I blame George Bush Sr. He raised a greedy, incompetent boob.”

    To that, I say: I love boobs, they are soft, sexy, and fun to squeeze.

  81. Avatar for David Koon David Koon says:

    What’s clear is that there is no hope for our country if enough 1/4 wits still buy into the bull that the war criminals running our nation spew out. They have made this a much more dangerous world for us and everyone else.

  82. Avatar for Duane Reed Duane Reed says:

    It’s clear to all of us by now that the Clinton administration did so very little in the area of renewable resource development that they significantly hampered our national progress in this arena.

    While we’ve probably spent a bit more in Iraq than we had hoped, it’s clear that President Bush’s priorities are clearly in the right place. First, safety of the homeland. Then, lesser things.

    1. Avatar for Adam Adam says:

      Uh, LOL?

      49% of your fellow countrymen don’t feel the same way. First it was Saddam that had the nukes (no he didn’t), then it was Osama (who is somewhere in Afghanistan apparently) and yet Bush is still basically fighting a pointless war in a country that never threatened the USA, they just had more control over a resource than Bush did, and he threw a temper tantrum in the name of God.

      Which to be honest, makes him even more stupid.

    2. Avatar for Marines rules Marines rules says:

      I belive that the Iraq war was fought correctly. Pulling out the soldiers is wrong fuck whoever disagree with me

  83. Avatar for Dan Hahn Dan Hahn says:

    @ Wardo,

    More info and references provided above.

  84. Avatar for sonny sonny says:

    {ep[;e pf tje IS are cp,[;acemt/ Tjeu deserve Bush. It sithe best that they could offer the wowrold. Not once but, twice.

  85. Avatar for Wardo Wardo says:

    oh nevermind. i saw the labeling
    still, give me some sources

  86. Avatar for Wardo Wardo says:

    um. the graph is wrong. it moves in frames of 500 and that would mean that only 500 dollars had been spent on coal. ever. i dont think thats correct. this could be done, just do it right and it will still be as shocking

    1. Avatar for Adam Adam says:

      If you had seen the high resolution image, you’d notice that it’s in either millions or billions of dollars. So $500 billion on coal since the war began.

      1. Avatar for Dan Hahn Dan Hahn says:

        Figures are in millions.
        ~$500 million in coal R&D since January of this year.

  87. Avatar for Jack Straw Jack Straw says:

    how about listing the number or terrorists killed with the $$ from each energy source? It’s a big fat Zero! Or maybe you think solar panals on the twin towers would have made a difference?

    1. Avatar for JAM JAM says:

      Ok… 13-year-old here…. Twin Towers don’t have anything to do with the Iraq war. Congress gave the Pres. the wrong information that they had nuclear weapons… right? Yah… pretty sure I’m right…

    2. Avatar for john shermer john shermer says:

      Except that all the military and money in the middle east is most of the reason that part of the world despises us in the west. and contrary to what people like jack may think…we don’t have a right to go anywhere and do anything that we want to on this earth. so how different would this entire world be if say 30 years ago when we were uncovering the power of alternative energy, we would have poured our resources into those clean and unobtrusive ways of powering our country? We would be energy independant and we would have not harrassed areas like the middle east, and we would not have had to go into wars that were and are morally reprehensible. And why generally decent Americans by day will give a pass to Bush for a war that is 100% about oil, and that only benefits the elite rich, and sends Americans home in body bags and mental illness…I will never until my dying day understand.

      And the 13 year old is right by the way Jacky…9-11 has nothing to do with why Bush Lite went into Iraq. Two different situations…but hey those people kinda look the same and there’s a bunch of sand lying around…I bet if we start blowing the whole place up no one is going to know the difference. No one named Jack at least.

      Bush belongs in prison for war crimes. Bush is our Hitler. He is our Stalin.

  88. Avatar for lynx lynx says:

    an oddly appropriate graph for halloween, one of the scariest things I’ve seen in days.

    added a link to this post from my blog, along with a short rant on the opportunity cost of this war and the damage to the our country and our economy caused by that. hope you get some traffic off it.

  89. Avatar for Thomas Thomas says:


    Actually, I think the country most likely to find “the next big thing” is the U.S. The government may not be throwing too much tax money on research but several universities an d companies are working on the problem.

    1. Avatar for Adam Adam says:

      Comment by Thomas
      2007-10-30 15:46:50


      Actually, I think the country most likely to find “the next big thing” is the U.S. The government may not be throwing too much tax money on research but several universities an d companies are working on the problem.

      You sir, are an idiot. You mean just because “several” universities and companies are “working” on the problem means the USA is bound to find a solution to the renewable energy problem first? There’s a Norwegian scientist that has already modified wind turbines to be 85% more efficient than current models, and only require 10% of the space current wind farms do.

      Hundreds of companies all around the world are working on it, whereas unlike the USA they are already doing something about it as well, renewable gas sources, wind farms, solar power, all these have been implemented everywhere except the united states, who are still the worlds #1 oil burning country, the worlds largest carbon footprinting country and ultimately, the biggest threat to the environment on the planet.

      1. Avatar for John John says:

        Hmmm… Well, how dare you call this man an idiot and follow it up with something like that. The United states installed more wind power capacity in 2005 and 2006 than every other country in the world except for Germany and Spain. Year to date, it has invested more than last year and is only second to Germany for new installations. Thomas may have been vague, but it IS private enterprise that brings about revolutionary change. If we were to ask the government to develop the same technology that private companies have been developing, it would cost taxpayers dearly. The chart up above doesn’t mention the billions of dollars that have been invested by the government and private companies to develop high capacity batteries to store energy that is collected from these Green sources (what happens when it is cloudy or the wind doesn’t blow?). I bet it hurts to know that a lot of this research is done by government contractors. It also doesn’t mention other investments such as ethanol or biofuels (even though we wouldn’t be any better off). You need to understand that most of the advanced innovations will be done by auto manufacturers and those big energy companies that we hate so much. They have incentive to find cheaper alternatives too. Their wells are being tapped out. They know it. It isn’t the governments job to develop this stuff, it is our job as citizens to request it from the companies we purchase power from. Put a solar panel on your roof if you don’t like it, but don’t waste another byte of memory or use another watt of energy typing on your computer until you read a little bit. As for our oil INVESTMENT in Iraq, we might as well be invading Canada and Mexico, they are closer and they are our two top importers of oil.

        1. Avatar for mike mike says:

          put the absolute investments into renewable energy into relation to the country’s tremendous size compared to Germany and you’ll see that what the US does about renewable energy is just peanuts.

          And why do you need to burn so much more renewable energy than other western societies?! That’s just stupid and short-sighted like the whole US way of life.

        2. Avatar for S. S. says:

          “As for our oil INVESTMENT in Iraq, we might as well be invading Canada and Mexico, they are closer and they are our two top importers of oil.”

          ….google The North American Union….. we don’t even need the option to invade… anymore.

      2. Avatar for Pedro Pedro says:

        And of course, taking all the profit potential away from us. We will be bankrupt in 5-25 years. No more loans to pay our soldiers. No more money to fuel our war planes or pay the pilots. Anyone, anywhere can invade us.

        I personally feel we’ll all be in Chinese slave-labor camps on US soil standing in long lines for our daily rice rations. How can one administration do so much damage in 7 years.

        Fascism sucks. FOX News and all the other corporate controlled media outlets suck. Yes, GE makes more than light bulbs.

        And in the mean time, Cheney and all the other war criminals will take all their converted currency to any country that won’t hang them. His stock in Halliburton went up 3000 percent since the war. Shhhh. We don’t want the general public to know, keep them tuned to Fox and NBC. They’ll never know.

        Most of you would think I’m looney if I told you there are prison camps going up HERE to incarcerate American citizens.

        We’re to blame too, for our long history of consuming more than we produce. 60,000 new manufacturing plants in China. Shh. Don’t tell anyone.

        Pretty soon those SUV drivers won’t be able to sell their monster machines for 3 cents, or the equivalent of a dollar today.

        Once we survive the holocaust, we’ll get solar power. Someone else will have sucked all the money out of it, but we’ll get it. Who knows, maybe some good humanitarian country will take over like um, er, uh……

        A quote from Vladimir Lenin: “Fascism is capitalism in decay.” Kinda makes me wish I was 95 and dying so I wouldn’t have to witness what younger people will.

        Sorry I’d donate, but I’m more concerned in the faint hope of getting Cheney out of office before the next 295 days.

        Once he nukes Iran and gas goes up to $10 a gallon, that might be it. He could let the Jews do it, but it’s only fitting that we borrow more money to pay for it while they sit on their riches and watch. We should probably even protect them from anyone fighting back.

        And can’t the idiot who brought up the twin towers talk about how many warnings there were. They practically gave us the time and date, several months in advance. Not only could (and should) have it been avoided BUT WE LET IT HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, on purpose. Read up on Fascism, buddy.

  90. Avatar for GregFitz GregFitz says:

    How about a graph showing how many innocent people are killed in the quest for each source of energy?

  91. Avatar for Carl Rody Carl Rody says:

    I blame George Bush Sr. He raised a greedy, incompetent boob. It (yes it) knows not to bite the hand that feeds it, it’s easily bullied, it will obey big oil no matter how inane the demand, and is incapable of thinking for itself. On the plus side, the current resident in the White House has inspired my fish. Things that could never have thought about ruling the free world now think about it often and are looking into hiring public relations firms, compiling statics and forming focus groups. Vote Oscar.

    1. Avatar for empress empress says:

      the family line goes back further than sr. try prescott bush who funded hitler in killing jews. this is so deep the bush family is also cousin to the queen of england.

  92. Avatar for Lionel Lionel says:

    Any doubts why US is running at the back of the “renewable sources” competition?

  93. Avatar for Wyllie Wyllie says:

    Wow, I’m with ya on this. It just boggles the mind to think we would spend so much more on a war for oil then we would spend on not being dependent on so much oil to begin with. Wow!

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