US Military Takes Part in Reducing Ecological Footprint

In an effort to enhance American security and address climate change, the U.S. military is diminishing its footprint. The military is producing cleaner power, reducing energy consumption, managing water and minimizing waste. Their efforts encompass vast numbers of vehicles, ships, planes, buildings, lands, and other facilities.

A major impetus for these efforts is Executive Order 13514, “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance,” which President Obama signed on October 5, 2009. It mandates a 30 percent reduction in energy usage by federal agencies.

Independent of EO 13514, most senior ranking military officials acknowledge the need to address the risks posed by climate change. Even military men that were around long before the Obama administration believe that it is urgent that we address climate change. Admiral John Nathman, USN (Ret.), former Commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command under President George W. Bush, put it this way:

“There are serious risks to doing nothing about climate change. We can pay now or we’re going to pay a whole lot later. The U.S. has a unique opportunity to become energy independent, protect our national security and boost our economy while reducing our carbon footprint. We’ve been a model of success for the rest of the world in the past and now we must lead the way on climate change.”

Climate change has been an important issue for the Department of Defense (DoD) dating back to the dawn of the 21st century. In 2008, the DoD set the goal of generating 25 percent of all energy from renewable sources by 2025. In 2009, the U.S. military launched several clean energy initiatives including solar and wind projects. The DoD’s current Comprehensive Energy Strategy involves annual reduction requirements, which include energy, water, and GHGs.

A Pike Research report titled, “Renewable Energy for Military Applications”, indicates that annual spending on renewable energy by the DoD will reach $10 billion by 2030.

The US Department of Defense spends approximately $4 billion per year on energy. About one quarter of these costs come from 500 fixed installations, comprising nearly 300,000 buildings that cover 2.3 billion square feet.

To help manage these facilities, the DoD has developed an energy strategy designed to reduce energy demand through conservation and efficiency. To achieve these goals, they are expanding their supply of renewable energy and leveraging advanced technology.



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