One of the great contributors to climate change: the U.S. military
With temperatures above 100 degrees in the last week throughout Ventura County, local residents may be recalling scenes from former Vice President Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Whether or not one believes in climate change or global warming, there is no denying that the consumption of fossil fuels has a variety of adverse effects on American society, from pollutants in the air and damage to our health to pain at the pump with volatile gas prices. Though some may still be on the fence, certain longtime global warming skeptics are changing their minds. Richard A. Muller, professor of physics at University of California, Berkley, recently flip-flopped on the matter after exhaustive research led him to concrete evidence on rising temperatures, and he even stated that humans are almost entirely to blame for this environmental crisis.
While we slowly shift away from our gas-guzzling stick shifts and automatics to electric cars, which ideally would be fueled by energy collected by photovoltaic solar panels, wind turbines, etc., it would seem most Americans aren’t looking at the big picture. Though we, as consumers, may be trading our gas-powered vehicles for electric models, the U.S. military with its ships and high-octane jet engines is estimated to consume around 1 million barrels of oil per day and accounts for 5 percent of greenhouse emissions globally, according to Barry Sanders, author of The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism.
At a press event last week, State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, brought together Navy and state officials as well as representatives from alternative energy companies, such as Russell Teall, founder of the biodiesel tech firm Biodico, to discuss her bill, the Energy Security Coordination Act of 2012. The bill, which coincidentally was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown at the time of the event, directs the governor’s director of planning and research to lead coordination and implementation of complementary clean energy policies with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).
Though Pavley is known to be an ambassador for the environment with her legislation, such as the controversial bill AB 32, The Global Warming Solutions Act, the Energy Security Coordination Act goes beyond emphasizing the importance of alternative, cleaner fuels for the sake of our environment. The DOD recently declared “climate change and oil dependence as strategic national security threats and U.S. oil dependence as creating significant risks to our active military personnel.” The Navy also announced this summer its goal to cut overall power consumption in half and meet half of those reduced energy needs from renewable resources by the year 2020. While there may be some who believe the move away from the military’s dependence on oil may be a waste of time and money, there is nothing but good that can come out of this, from new jobs to more stable energy sources produced in the U.S. and cleaner air for everyone.
We applaud Pavley for her hard work and dedication to a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone. Her Energy Security Coordination Act gives California a greater advantage in getting away from the thing that may have propelled us into the wars in the Middle East in the first place.