Tony Blair has announced that the Government reaffirming its commitment to green issues by making the Iraq conflict the first ever ‘carbon neutral war’.
British soldiers will be set green targets to ensure that carbon emissions caused by missile attacks are off-set by tree planting and recycling initiatives. Helicopter gunships firing depleted uranium will be ‘partly’ offset by army laundries using a washing-line instead of the tumble dryer.
‘What you have to remember,’ said the Prime Minister, ‘is that when we invaded Iraq we did so in the belief that terrorism was the number one threat to our way of life. But that was before the release of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Now we know that climate change is a greater danger, and that’s why future actions in Iraq are going to be balanced by the urgent need to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions.’
Mr Blair said that some relatively straightforward measures could have a ‘significant impact’ on the reduction of greenhouse gases. Soldiers are being encouraged to share armoured cars ‘wherever possible’, and to diminish the polluting effects of munitions manufacture by discharging their rifles only when they absolutely have to. ‘When you’re being shot at by Shia militia forces in Sadr City,’ he said, ‘it’s a simple matter of asking whether you really need to return fire with two bullets, or whether one will do.’
The Ministry Of Defence has ordered a fleet of hybrid-fuel troop carriers while a ‘wind-up missile launcher’ is also being developed. Officers are to ensure that barracks are ‘really well insulated’, while solar-powered mobile phone chargers were being issued to offset the global warming caused by years of bombing. ‘We shouldn’t focus on what kind of shattered and enraged country we’re going to leave behind,’ he said. ‘The size of the carbon footprint we leave behind is just as important.’
However, the Prime Minister stressed that the British army couldn’t make the hostilities environmentally friendly on its own. ‘Blowing up a gas pipeline can add hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, so we’d like Sunni rebels who want to destabilise the new regime to consider some more ecologically sound methods, shouting slogans or handing in petitions. On recycled paper obviously.’
The Prime Minister then left the Press Conference to travel to Washington. He is keen to promote the idea of carbon neutral policies with other governments who have forces in Iraq, and he will be flying to all of them over the next week.