The power of the military to create the green economy has been overlooked by most environmentalists and advocates. A carbon free military has the potential to be the major game changer because of the research and development brilliance of DARPA combined with the almost unlimited funding that the military-industrial complex can bring to bear to deploy next generation renewable energy systems.
The New York Times discusses the strategic and tactical imperative for shifting the military from carbon based energy:
[S]enior commanders have come to see overdependence on fossil fuel as a big liability, and renewable technologies — which have become more reliable and less expensive over the past few years — as providing a potential answer.
“There are a lot of profound reasons for doing this, but for us at the core it’s practical,” said Ray Mabus, the Navy secretary and a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who has said he wants 50 percent of the power for the Navy and Marines to come from renewable energy sources by 2020. That figure includes energy for bases as well as fuel for cars and ship.
The Department of Defense is looking at all branches of the armed services – not just ground troop in the push to remove fossil fuels. The air force is investing in biofuels, the navy in hybrid ships and algae based fuels. Potable water is another resource that the military is researching.
There is a multimedia feature in the NYTs that showcases several of the new green technologies that are being deployed.
The civilian opportunities for these technologies are pretty impressive – just think of how GPS or the internet has changed our society. It is also worth pointing out the value of some of these systems for refugees and disaster relief – this is one of the greatest opportunities for a peace dividend and to turn swords into plowshares.
If the DoD funds the research and development, the US might just get a green economy without congress!