Clean Energy Makes the Military Stronger, Declares Secretary of Defense

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Written By: Emma Websdale

Securing investments in renewable energy and adopting energy-efficiency measures, the U.S military is committed to addressing the threat of climate change, says Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
1465793712Speaking to delegates from 25 nations at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, Canada, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that addressing the threats of climate change on national security was one of the military’s top priorities. He reminded the audience of what was at risk.

“Climate change does not directly cause conflict, but it can add to the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict”, said Hagel.

“Food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, more severe natural disasters -all place additional burdens on economies, societies, and institutions around the world.”

Showing strong support for renewable-energy investments and deployment, Hagel said that clean energy makes the military stronger –saving lives and reducing environmental impact.

“Smarter energy investments not only make us a stronger military, they have many additional benefits –saving us money, reducing demand, and helping protect the environment”, said Hagel at the conference.

Using duties in Afghanistan as an example, Hagel said that tactical solar gear in combat outposts saved approximately 20 million gallons of fuel –removing 7,000 truckloads worth of fuel from the battlefield.

In recent years, the Department of Defense has shown its commitment to embracing new strategies to improve energy efficiency and expand its use of renewable energy. For example, the U.S Air Force has established more efficient navigation routes, saving over $1.5 billion in fuel costs. The Navy and Air Force aim to get 50% of their energy from renewable energy sources by 2020. Meanwhile, the Marines have set a goal of becoming 50% more fuel-efficient in the battlefield by 2025.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), private sector investments on Department of Defense installations are expected to produce 3,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy by 2025.

Reinforcing the crucial role that clean energy has to play in addressing climate change threats and reducing the environmental impact of carbon emissions, Hagel said,

“These initiatives all support President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which outlines how the United States will work with the international community in addressing these serious global challenges. This plan also helps prepare our nation for the effects of climate change and lays out how we will work to reduce carbon emissions.”