Combating Climate Change on Day 1 By Enlisting the Defense Department


The Pentagon Photo: David B. Gleason, Wikimedia CC

One of the promises made by President-Elect Joe Biden during the campaign was that his administration would use the full powers of government to fight climate change.  To get more bang for his buck (sorry the puns just keeping on rolling along), he need only look to the Department of Defense, with an annual budget of half a trillion dollars, it is the single largest buyer of energy in the world.  Even small shifts in purchases of electricity, gas, vehicles, and even food could make a big difference in charting a new course for our country, as well as in reducing the Pentagon’s massive carbon bootprint.

In a piece for Time Magazine, former Navy Secretary (and Friend of the Planet) Ray Mabus made the case for DoD leading the fight against climate change in the Biden administration. He recounts the work begun in the Obama administration on expanding the use of renewable energy on installations and in creating a domestic biofuels capability as a substitute for jet fuel.  Mabus concludes this way:

“As former Saudi Oil Minister Zaki Yamani famously said, ‘The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. It ended because we invented something better.’ This is exactly where we are today with the Oil Age.”

Read the whole piece hereAnd to go deeper, you can read this piece by one of the leading contenders for Secretary of Defense, Michèle Flournoy, on how DoD can lead on climate change.

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