US Military Forges Ahead with Climate Security. Deniers Still Looking for WMDs.

April 2, 2012

Scientific American:

The U.S. military’s elite forces have always pushed the envelope. And this summer will be no exception, as the Navy deploys SEALs with $2 million of new gear on missions to save hostages, combat pirates, and counter terrorism around the world. What sort of next-generation weaponry, armor, ortransportation will the funds provide?


The cash will pay for solar technology, enabling the SEALs to power up equipment and purify water while on the move, and even refrigerate medical supplies and food.

“It’s really the first step in the Navy’s effort to make the SEALs net-zero energy and net-zero water (use) down the road,” said Thomas Hicks, the Navy’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy.

Making the SEALs into a leaner, greener tactical force is one of many such steps being taken by all branches as the U.S. military reduces its environmental footprint. The Army is targeting net-zero energy use at several bases, and the Navy and Air Force are experimenting with running jets on biofuels that use wood waste and algae and less petroleum. In Afghanistan, patrols now carry eco-friendly solar blankets and LED lamps.

Connecting the military’s fossil-fuel and overall energy use with risks to our nationalsecurity hasn’t been easy in this political environment, especially with the presidential election looming. Congressional Republicans have repeatedly questioned and criticized the Armed Forces’ new-energy strategies, portraying initiatives as political favors to clean-energy businesses.

But current and retired military leaders insist the policies are essential. The efforts protect soldiers and help them carry out missions. They also help curb climate change and its potential to intensify military conflicts.

(National Security  Part 2 video below)

“There is not a shred of political correctness in what the military is doing with energy efficiency or renewable energy,” said Dennis McGinn, a retired Navy vice admiral who now serves as president of the D.C.-based American Council on Renewable Energy and as vice chair of the military advisory board for CNA, a 70-year-old think tank that began as a Naval antisubmarine research group during World War II. “From lance corporal to general, they are on board. They live with the problems from the over-reliance on fossil fuels.”

Hicks, who previously worked at the U.S. Green Building Council and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, says the green benefits are meaningful. Energy investments are not about “advancing an environmental agenda,” he said. “They’re about improving our combat capability, improving our mission effectiveness, and reducing our vulnerabilities to foreign sources of fossil fuel.”

“It’s about returning more of our brave sailors and Marines back home to their families safely.”

A 2010 Defense Department review identified climate change and energy security as “prominent military vulnerabilities,” noting that climate change in particular is an “accelerant of instability and conflict.” It was the first time the Pentagon addressed climate in a comprehensive planning document.

A subsequent assessment by the National Research Council found that even moderate climate shifts will impact Navy operations. Sea-level rise and more severe storm surges will hit coastal military bases, and marine forces could also face more work in responding to an increase in humanitarian crises following disasters. The opening of the Arctic as sea ice disappears will likely require more patrols in harsh conditions as nations and industry interests are expected to vie for control of new trade routes and energy resources


7 Responses to “US Military Forges Ahead with Climate Security. Deniers Still Looking for WMDs.”

  1. Mike Says:

    Thanks for this post Peter.

    I haven’t noticed as yet, but fully expect, that before long, the climate denial blogosphere which is already filled with armchair climate experts will soon start to fill with armchair military experts as well.

  2. The purpose of the military “going green” in combat operations isn’t to “go green”. It’s to save millions of dollars in operations cost and to save hundreds of our American troops from unnecessary risk and death.

    Trucking water and fuel around in combat zones day in and day out is extremely costly and extremely dangerous. It is so expensive that it will pay for solar power systems and water recycling systems many times over and it cuts dangerous logistical requirements – which are highly predictable targets – down considerably. It may even cut troop requirements, because we won’t have to defend so many of these supply missions.

    It’s not green, it’s common sense. And it has nothing to do with deploying expensive highly subsidized solar technology before its time within our borders.

  3. Jean Mcmahon Says:

    My Dear Senator Inhofe is really involved in the Kony Hoax.Inhofe uses fundamentalist religious groups to support a terrible dictator in Uganda…Uganda has lots of OIL I have read.There was a write up yesterday in the Oklahoman My Dear Seantor will do and say ANYTHING to keep the fossil fuel industry in Power !!!!! .Sen. Jim Inhofe helped tell story of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony
    Online Article | Published: Apr 1, 2012

    KAMPALA, Uganda — Jenifer Atim refused to watch “Kony 2012.” She could not watch a film about what she already knows, rather, experienced. At 19, Atim is already a mother of four. Rebels belonging to Joseph Kony’s Lord’s…

    Read more:

  4. Martin Lack Says:

    The WMD’s are both psychologically and effectively all in their heads.

  5. Martin Lack Says:

    I hope the USAF etc have contingency planning in place for WW3, which will erupt after Jordan and Syria decide to cash-in on Israel’s pre-occupation with preventing Iran getting nuclear weapons (and any ensuing retaliation), in order to re-take previously-lost and/or highly-attractive territory – and thereby solve their current lamentably-deficient access to potable surface water and groundwater supplies… I may be a hydrogeologist by training but, I for one, will not be responding to any forthcoming job adverts for positions in the Jerusalem area…

  6. […] it has been inspired by recent items on Peter Sinclair’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week: 1. US Military Forges Ahead with Climate Security. Deniers Still Looking for WMDs (2 April 2012); and 2. How to Talk to a Climate Ostrich: The Pentagon and Climate Change (24 April […]

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