Crank of the Week – April 30, 2012 – Leon Panetta
Not wanting to miss out on the global warming bonanza that is being used as an excuse for increased government spending in other agencies, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has declared war on climate change. Panetta spoke at the annual reception for the Environmental Defense Fund at the Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C., on May 2, 2012. In his remarks, the Secretary thanked the organization for recognizing Defense Department efforts to make military bases and equipment more efficient and environmentally friendly. He also bemoaned rising fuel prices that are having an adverse affect on Pentagon operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. “We now face a budget shortfall exceeding $3 billion because of higher-than-expected fuel costs this year,” he told the audience.
It is not surprising that federal agencies from the EPA to NOAA, from NASA to the Department of Agriculture, have jumped on the global warming bandwagon. Naturally, the primary result of recognizing the climate change threat is a demand for more agency funding—the bureaucrats need more money to study the problem so they can more effectively do nothing about it. Not wanting to be left out of the warming climate gold rush, Leon Panetta has put the world on notice that the American military stands ready to fight this new foe.
“The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security,” Panetta said at a reception hosted by the Environmental Defense Fund to honor the Defense Department in advancing clean energy initiatives. “Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
According to an American Forces Press Service release, Panetta cited the melting of Arctic ice in renewing a longstanding call for the Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea. Among other things, the convention would guarantee various aspects of passage and overflight for the US military. Panetta urged his audience to use their influence to push for treaty ratification: “We are the only industrialized nation that has not approved that treaty.” As if the US military, which daily sends drones over the sovereign territory of other nations and does not hesitate to attack foreign nationals from the air, is really concerned with a treaty concerning flying over the ocean.
The impact of energy prices and possible fuel supply interruptions also concerns Panetta, even if not directly linked to global warming. “I have a deep interest in working to try to ensure from a security perspective that we take measures that will help facilitate and maintain power in the event of an interruption of the commercial grid that could be caused, for example, by a cyber attack which is a reality that we have to confront,” he said. The last we checked, cyber attack is one of the few bad things not attributed to global warming.
The US Air Force is going green in a big way.
Reportedly, the Air Force is on target to generate one gigawatt of renewable energy by 2016, and expects to have enough renewable energy to supply 25 percent of all installation electricity use by 2025. The Army has announced that it will partner with industry for up to $7 billion in renewable-energy sources—wind, solar, biomass and geothermal—and has released a draft request for proposal that could allow multiple projects to begin nationwide. All of these plans go forward without regard to the cost or return on investment for the tax payer's money.
Considering that the US has recently undergone a revolution in gas and oil recovery, and that domestic reserves of fossil fuels are now estimated in terms of centuries, the claim that we must fight global warming because it adversely affects military operations seems a bit weak at best. Regardless, work to add “green energy” to military bases continues apace. A $3.1 million solar array at Naval Air Station Kingsville is expected to offset the base's consumption of conventional energy by 2.5 percent, a claimed savings of $55,400 per year. This effort is part of the Navy's plan to provide 50 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020.
“In the next fiscal year, we are going to be investing more than a billion dollars in more efficient aircraft and aircraft engines, in hybrid electric drives for our ships, in improved generators, in microgrids for combat bases and combat vehicle energy-efficient programs,” Panetta proclaimed. “We are investing another billion dollars to make our installations here at home more energy-efficient, and we are using them as the test bed to demonstrate next-generation energy technologies.”
The US Army's new ride.
What next? Troops in Attack Priuses? Biodegradable bullets? How about hang gliders for the Air Force? People have yearned to turn swords into plowshares, Panetta's plans turn funding for bombs into bullshit. The military's job is not to be a social agency or to test green energy technologies, it is to defend the nation and, if necessary, kill its enemies. Try beating al-Qaeda with windmills and solar panels. So, for forgetting the Pentagon's primary purpose and wandering into the politically correct swamp of green energy hucksterism, this Crank of the Week is for you: US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.