Professor Neta Crawford awarded American Book Award

Neta Crawford, Montague Burton Professor in International Relations, has been awarded the 'Anti-Censorship Award' in the 44th American Book Awards for her book The Pentagon, Climate Change, and War: Charting the Rise and Fall of U.S. Military Emissions (MIT Press, 2022).

The Before Columbus Foundation announced the winners of the awards on the 23 August, and they will be formally recognised in a ceremony at the San Francisco Public Library on 1 October.

Professor Crawford is currently finishing another book, To Make Heaven Weep: Civilians and the American Way of War.

About the book

In the book, Professor Crawford shows how US military emissions got to be so large, by tracing the adoption of fossil fuels by the military from the 19th century to the present. The book also examines the ways military technological demand has driven commercial industrial adoption and civilian use of fossil fuels.  

The Pentagon was instrumental in keeping US military emissions reporting largely out of the Kyoto Protocols out of a concern that this would lead to regulation. On the other hand, the Department of Defense has been a leader in funding climate change science since the 1950s and has recently begun to both adapt to climate change and reduce its emissions.

From the Before Columbus Foundation: The military has for years acknowledged that climate change is real, creating conditions so extreme that some military officials fear future climate wars. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Defence—military forces and DOD agencies—is the largest single energy consumer in the United States and the world’s largest institutional greenhouse gas emitter. In this eye-opening book, Neta Crawford traces the U.S. military’s growing consumption of energy and calls for a reconceptualization of foreign policy and military doctrine. Only such a rethinking, she argues, will break the link between national security and fossil fuels.

About The American Book Awards

The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognise literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognised authors and first works. The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups, or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organisation, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.

"Crawford exposes the self-reinforcing cycle of fossil fuel dependency and vast military deployments to ensure its availability. Without a radical shift in traditional military thinking and clear understanding of ‘ecological security’ the United States—indeed the world—will never meet its climate goals."
Jerry Brown