Help the military stop climate change through sustainable renewable energy

In memory of Armistice Day, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, when World War I ended, let’s help the military get us off of oil and to deal with climate change so fewer people will die in wars.

John M. Broder wrote for NYTimes 9 November 2012, Climate Change Report Outlines Perils for U.S. Military,

Climate change is accelerating, and it will place unparalleled strains on American military and intelligence agencies in coming years by causing ever more disruptive events around the globe, the nation’s top scientific research group said in a report issued Friday.

The group, the National Research Council, says in a study commissioned by the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies that clusters of apparently unrelated events exacerbated by a warming climate will create more frequent but unpredictable crises in water supplies, food markets, energy supply chains and public health systems.

Hurricane Sandy provided a foretaste of what can be expected more often in the near future, the report’s lead author, John D. Steinbruner, said in an interview.

“This is the sort of thing we were talking about,” said Mr. Steinbruner, a longtime authority on national security. “You can debate the specific contribution of global warming to that storm. But we’re saying climate extremes are going to be more frequent, and this was an example of what they could mean. We’re also saying it could get a whole lot worse than that.”

Climate-driven crises could lead to internal instability or international conflict and might force the United States to provide humanitarian assistance or, in some cases, military force to protect vital energy, economic or other interests, the study said.

This is in addition to the even more obvious connection between war and U.S. dependence on foreign oil which the veterans in Operation Free want to fix by helping us shift to clean renewable energy.

“In Iraq… the lines would stretch up to ten miles long under the hot sun, under constant risk of attack by extremists. I realized then just how vulnerable it makes any country to be dependent on oil, especially the United States, which uses nearly a quarter of the world’s supply.”

We also heard last year from Col. Dan Nolan (U.S. Army ret.) that the Marines in Afghanistan realized the value of solar power as a way to avoid long convoys of petroleum to run air conditioners in the desert. That got the military thinking about energy security as assured access to mission-critical energy. Not just for the military: for the U.S. as a country, for both transportation fuel and electricity. Most fossil fuel (and nuclear and biomass) electricity production can be replaced by solar and wind energy distributed through a smart grid.

In case anybody has forgotten, Moody Air Force Base caused much of the population growth in Lowndes County and is still the largest employer. Moody is moving ahead with solar energy, working to meet an Air Force requirement of 25% of facility energy use from renewable energy (efficiency, conservation, solar, and wind) by 2025.

National security isn’t really about wars. That’s what we have to do when real national security fails. We can get on with a real national security strategy which would start with education, continue with diplomacy, and build on sustainable renewable energy and agriculture.

We must recognize that security means more than defense,” they write. After ending the 20th century as the world’s most powerful country, “we failed to recognize that dominance, like fossil fuel, is not a sustainable form of energy.”

As Senator James Webb said 3 June 1990,

The first is one our leaders should carry next to their breasts, and contemplate every time they face a crisis, however small, which puts our military at risk. it should echo in their consciences, from the power of a million graves. It is simply this:

You hold our soldiers’ lives in sacred trust.

When a citizen has sworn to obey you, and follow your judgment, and walk onto a battlefield to defend the interests you define as worthy of his blood, do not abuse that awesome power through careless policy, unclear objectives, or inflexible leadership.”

A real national security strategy starts at home, with education, health care, and sustainable renewable energy and agriculture. If we beat some swords into solar panels and plowshares, we won’t need to fight nearly as many wars, and fewer people will die in them.



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