Source: Scientific American
By Joshua Zaffos and Daily Climate
April 2, 2012 - Climate policy may be a minefield for politicians but the Pentagon sees liabilities from global warming and is both reducing the armed forces greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate impacts.
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, or transportation 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 national security 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.
For the complete article, please see Scientific American.