U.S. military faces reality and makes big push for renewable energy
Photo: Flickr via DVIDSHUBSo Congress wants to take it slow on this renewable energy thing. The U.S. military, on the other hand, prefers to face reality.
Into the wild green yonder: Across the board, military commanders are pushing to break the addiction to fossil fuels, whether it’s the Navy launching hybrid vessels or the Air Force switching to biofuels. But the situation is most pressing for the Marines and Army troops in Afghanistan.
For every gallon of $1 gas they buy, it can cost up to $400 to get that gas to remote bases. It’s also dangerous to transport. One Army study found that for every 24 fuel convoys sent out, one soldier or civilian involved in the operation was killed. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, in an interview with The New York Times, cut to the chase:
There are a lot of profound reasons for doing this, but for us at the core it’s practical. Fossil fuel is the No. 1 thing we import to Afghanistan and guarding that fuel is keeping the troops from doing what they were sent there to do, to fight or engage local people.
And in other green news:
Nǐhǎo, pardner: When it comes to renewable energy, China wants to rule. It already makes about half the planet’s solar panels. No matter what Christine O’Donnell believes, it’s smarter to work with China now than compete with it, says author and sustainability expert Adam Werbach. Here’s his take in The Atlantic:
China is rapidly changing from the world’s factory to the world’s largest market. And in this transition China and the U.S. will increase their dependencies. Chinese companies will rely on U.S. partners with critical intellectual property, capital, and know-how. These partnerships will provide greater access to the Chinese markets, and eventually a higher regard for intellectual property in China.
Meanwhile, back in the Stone Age: Ron Johnson, Republican candidate for Senate from Wisconsin and the guy who said sunspots may be causing global warming, is sticking to his guns. Well, kinda. He’s not bringing up sunspots any more, but in a recent interview he reiterated that global warming hasn’t been proven so we shouldn’t “penalize the economy” to try to deal with it. [AP]
First, let’s blot out the sunspots: Okay, so they dropped the ball on climate and energy legislation, but now some members of Congress are starting to talk seriously about geoengineering as a way to deal with climate change. [Washington Post]
Off track: Barack Obama may be pushing high-speed trains as a big part of his energy strategy, but at least a handful of Republicans running for governor in states where speedy trains have been proposed don’t want anything to do with them. [The New York Times]
How about “Give your house a snuggie”: New research suggests that you’re more likely to get people to make their homes more energy efficient if you don’t use words like “weatherization” and “retrofitting.” [greentech]
Not counting Sponge Bob: Scientists have completed the first real census of ocean life and concluded that there’s a lot going on down there. They identified 250,000 different marine species. And they think that’s only 25 percent of what’s under the sea. [Mother Jones]
Hit me with your best hot: More heat records were set in September, and not just in L.A. In fact, there were more than five record high temperatures for every record low. [Climate Progress]
Not ready for slime time: For all of the lessons supposedly learned from the BP oil fiasco this summer, many industry and environmental experts think the oil industry and the government still aren’t prepared to prevent a blowout or another major spill. [AP]
Things that go scrunch in the night: People like their chips noisy. The bags the chips come in, not so much. So many people complained about those incredibly noisy SunChips bags that Frito-Lay has decided to bail on its compostable packaging. [GreenBiz]