Panetta links environment, energy and national security in groundbreaking speech

Climate change and oil dependence are issues of national security, and the Pentagon will take a lead role in shifting the way the country uses energy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last night.

In remarks made at a Washington, D.C., reception held by the Environmental Defense Fund, Panetta became the highest-level official to draw a clear line between environmental, energy and security issues since their relationship was formally established in Pentagon strategy two years ago.

“In the 21st century, reality is that there are environmental threats that constitute threats to our national security,” he said last night. With carefully chosen words, the Defense secretary stopped short of naming individual threats, such as the standoff with Iran that has raised global oil prices, instead laying out a strategic framework for how the military thinks about and is acting on long-term environmental and energy issues.

At a time when the scientific grounding of climate change and the military’s alternative energy investments are under assault from some members of Congress, Panetta signaled a personal investment in the issues — a gesture that was not lost on a room packed with many of the country’s top environmental and security experts (Greenwire, Feb. 23).

“As someone who now faces a budget shortfall exceeding $3 billion because of higher-than-expected fuel costs, I have a deep interest in more sustainable and efficient energy options,” Panetta said, pointing to the services’ commitment to adding 3 gigawatts of renewable energy in the coming years and emphasizing the military’s history of anticipating trends.

Panetta may not have offered any new initiatives or policies, but an endorsement from the Pentagon’s top official sends an important signal both within the ranks and to the rest of the country, said Dan Nolan, a retired Army colonel who runs an energy security firm.

“This gives the issue command emphasis,” he said.


3 responses to “Panetta links environment, energy and national security in groundbreaking speech

  1. I question the wisdom of any government official accepting awards and speaking before NGOs–in particular controversial ones like the Environmental Defense Fund.

    Panetta is demonstating his bona fides for the Obama administration by lining up his support that the carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is causing catastrophic global warming. I always thought he had better sense; but this act may be necessary in order to keep a job in this admininistration.

    In times of budget cutting, the Department of Defense does not have the money to go on fishing expeditions on renewable energy. The investment in thousands of solar power plants on military bases will be totally gone in twenty years and nothing to show for the billions spent. Investments in biofuels is another terrible waste of money when the country is flush with oil and natural gas. Look at this buying fuel for ships at $27 per gallon from restaruant grease!

  2. Panetta better get busy. He’s got about
    8 months to git ‘er done.

  3. $136.53 per gallon of Alage Biofuel

    Defense Logistics Agency
    Contract number SP4701-10-C-0008
    Solazyme, Inc.
    225 Gateway Blvd.
    South San Francisco, CA 94080

    $10,240,000 for 75,000 Gallons
    “Using service is Navy. The original proposal was Web-solicited with one response.”
    So the Great Green Fleet is buying a gallon of Alage diesel for more money than the current price of a barrel of oil. Go green!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s