DOD Official Says US Facing Climate Change Crisis US Department of Defense Department of Defense News
Climate change affects national security absolutely, said the chief climate advisor to the defense minister.
Joe Bryan said yesterday at the Department of Energy’s Energy Exchange Forum:
- The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet – opening up competition with China and Russia for sea routes and natural resources.
- In Africa and the Middle East, drought and rising temperatures are creating insecurity, increasing demands on fragile states and contributing to food shortages, migration and security concerns.
- Longer typhoon seasons threaten millions of people across Southeast Asia and challenge countries’ ability to respond.
- Extended droughts in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are contributing to migration to the north.
- Military exercises have been suspended or changed due to hurricanes and typhoons.
- Military facilities had to be evacuated due to forest fires in the west.
- Hurricanes and floods recently caused billions in damage to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida infrastructure ($ 5 billion); Camp Lejeune, North Carolina ($ 3 billion) and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska ($ 400 million).
But there is good news. Bryan mentioned that the energy technology market is developing rapidly and said that according to the International Energy Agency’s Renewable Energy Market Update for 2021 for 2021, renewable energy was the only energy source that has seen a surge in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic for 90 % of new electricity capacity added worldwide in the next two years. “And that’s not just because renewables are clean – it’s because they’re competitive,” said Bryan.
In the automotive sector, the world market is going electric, with Volvo going all-electric by 2030, General Motors by 2035, and Ford in Europe by 2030. In addition, Volkswagen will launch 70 new electric models by the end of the decade, and by 2030, 50% of the cars will be that they sell in the US and Chinese markets will be electric.
“The world is changing and we in the Department of Defense cannot afford to stand still. We have to compete for the energy technologies that will determine the future. Our economy – and our military capabilities – depend on it, ”he said.
The goal of the department’s upcoming climate adaptation plan is to ensure that the DOD can operate in changing climatic conditions, maintain operability, and improve the natural and man-made systems that are essential to the department’s success.
Bryan mentioned a few DOD success stories:
- Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California built a microgrid that can power critical missions even if the grid fails. During a heat wave last summer, Miramar took 6 megawatts off the grid for several hours to help the local utility cope with the exceptionally high demand and prevent rolling blackouts to keep the grid open for everyone.
- Earlier this year, the Hawaiian Army’s Schofield Barracks was disconnected from the grid for a day and a half without becoming operational.
- The DOD and other government agencies are working to switch to electric vehicle fleets.
“We need more of this, and one of the best ways to get there is by partnering and working together,” he said. “For example, DOD and DOE have a letter of intent that enables us to work together on innovative energy technologies.”
For example, the DOD and DOE recently demonstrated an air source heat pump at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, he said.
There are many other DOD / DOE collaboration opportunities, from batteries and energy efficiency to zero-emission vehicles, he added.
“Success in transforming the energy sector depends on collaboration between government and the private sector,” he said.