Recently, I toured a U.S Navy mine sweeper and destroyer during Fleet Week. Just before the tour entrance line a tent with exhibits caught my attention. On the first table were a set of small bottles containing various kinds of liquid fuels, a sampling meant to highlight the biofuels now being developed and used by the Navy. At the second table I was greeted by a Navy public relations specialist who handed me a quarterly magazine devoted exclusively to the Navy’s energy and environmental initiatives.
The U.S. Navy isn’t the only service seeking to make itself less dependent on fossil fuels and friendlier to the environment. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has committed itself to more sustainable practices and alternative fuels across all services. The reason: The DOD takes climate change and fossil fuel dependence as serious risks to the nation’s security and to the U.S. military’s own ability to fight and protect the nation.
Why does the U.S. military establishment take these threats seriously and act on them in such a thoroughgoing fashion while the military’s strongest congressional supporters are the most ardent opponents of sustainable practices?
Using the hawkish Center for Security Policy’s (CSP) 2013-2014 congressional scorecard as a proxy for devotion to all things military, we find 21 so-called “champions” of national security in the U.S. House and Senate who voted for all items favored by the CSP during the session. Among those 21 legislators, nine had a 0 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters for 2014, four had a 3 percent rating, four had a 6 percent rating, one had 20 percent rating, one had a 60 percent rating, and two were not rated.
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