As Congress Appeases Polluters, Military Arms With Clean Energy For Climate Battle

This week, the U.S. Senate is preparing to vote on a series of amendments sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats to cripple the federal response to climate pollution. Although these efforts won’t likely escape the Senate, a majority of these supposed leaders are expected to support the dangerous policy of ignoring the fundamental threat of global warming. As Vice President Gore has noted repeatedly, the “climate crisis, the security crisis and the economic crisis have a common thread” — our dependence on fossil fuels. If we continue the status quo, threats will continue to multiply on every front — a fact our military, if not our politicians now in the Senate, now recognizes.

As A. Siegel has noted at Get Energy Smart, the military brass are working intensely to do their job of defending our nation from the very real threats of dependence on fossil fuels and their world-altering pollution. Furthermore, they’re seizing the economic opportunity the Tea Party Congress has rejected for the nation — rebuilding our forces to be energy smart, with energy efficiency and renewable energy. This week, as Republicans hold hearings and press availabilities to promote Drill Baby Drill legislation and attack climate science, the military is discussing the reality of using energy innovation to address the climate security crisis:

Today at 6 pm, the Clean Energy Network, DC will host a panel discussion on military energy issues. Entitled Clean Energy Priorities of the Military, the panel’s invitation provides this focus: “the trends, challenges, and opportunities surrounding Clean Tech and the Department of Defense.”

Today and tomorrow, Johns Hopkins University’s Advanced Physics Laboratory and the Center for Naval Analyses is, for the second year in a row, running a two-day conference focused on the Department of Navy (U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps) and energy and climate issues: Adapting to Climate and Energy Challenges: Options for U.S. Maritime Forces. This includes the heads of Task Force Energy, Rear Admiral Philip Cullom, and Task Force Climate Change, Rear Admiral Dave Titley.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Association of Climate Change Officers is hosting a two-day conference on Defense, National Security and Climate Change: Mitigating Risks and Seizing Opportunities in a Rapidly Changing Global Environment. Speakers include former senators John Warner and Gary Hart, Senator John Warner, Assistant Secretary of Defense Sharon E. Burke, and Assistant Secretary of the Army Katherine Hammack.

On Thursday, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation is hosting an event where the title explicitly points to the military’s opportunity through focusing on energy challenges: Operation Energy Innovation: A Stronger, Smarter Fighting Force. Speakers include Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA). Forbes has been a nearly party-line voter for climate denial.

Maybe some of this serious reality will get past the smokescreen of the coal and oil lobby to reach policymakers on Capitol Hill. No matter what, it is heartening to know that there are people who have taken oaths to serve and defend our nation who are actually living up to that pledge.


One of Peter Sinclair’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week videos, from last year, shows clearly why the military is concerned:

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