Posts tagged “oil dependence”
The recent debate over the role of the military in investing in renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency and conservation programs and alternative biofuels has included many voices that sometimes conflate the linked but distinct efforts by defense officials to address energy concerns. The rationale behind the military’s energy programs can be broken down into two efforts:
- Adapting to operational energy requirements and security challenges in Afghanistan and other combat theatres;
- Hedging against future uncertainty in the global petroleum market.
Adapting to Operational Energy Challenges
Military leaders have become increasingly worried about operational energy challenges in Afghanistan and other theatres where U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen are deployed and are working to reduce the demand for energy that must be transported across volatile terrain.
To date, part of the military’s effort to reduce operational energy requirements includes:
- prioritizing energy efficiency in the acquisitions process for new combat platforms;
- fielding micro-grid technology to more efficiently manage traditional power distribution systems that waste energy;
- replacing — where possible — diesel-fuelled generators with solar panels and other renewable energy sources;
- equipping soldiers with advanced batteries that stay charged longer to help keep them in the fight;
- and increasing awareness among all U.S. military personnel about energy use to help promote conservation practices.
There are clear operational advantages to reducing the fuel required by military personnel in theater. In particular, reducing fuel consumption also curbs the demand for petroleum that has to be trucked across dangerous territory where the fuel and the soldiers and contractors transporting it are vulnerable to insurgent attack.
Twisting Facts to Support an Agenda
Thomas L. Friedman, a New York Times Op-Ed Columnist, frequently writes on the topic of energy and the environment. One persistent habit he has is to omit certain important facts from a story — facts so important that they would greatly undermine the point he is trying to make. His latest column provides a perfect example:
His premise is that Taiwan is a model for other countries to follow, because they have no natural resources, and yet have managed to be very successful by investing in their people:
Because rather than digging in the ground and mining whatever comes up, Taiwan has mined its 23 million people, their talent, energy and intelligence — men and women. I always tell my friends in Taiwan: “You’re the luckiest people in the world. How did you get so lucky? You have no oil, no iron ore, no forests, no diamonds, no gold, just a few small deposits of coal and natural gas — and because of that you developed the habits and culture of honing your people’s skills, which turns out to be the most valuable and only truly renewable resource in the world today.
Count me among those who strongly believe in educated citizens. Unfortunately, Friedman’s essay does not advance that cause, but rather misleads by omitting some very important facts. The thrust of his argument is that Taiwan did not need natural resources to become so successful. Unfortunately, what Friedman omits is that Taiwan IS heavily dependent upon natural resources, they just get them from other countries.
Based on my Site Meter, it appears that a lot of new readers are stopping by because of my recent inclusion in the Top 10 list of ethanol enemies. Because the article presents a highly inaccurate view of my position, I issued a quick and concise rebuttal to the baseless claims. But perhaps this is a good time to review my paradigm, as that defines why I write the things I do. We all view the world through a set of lenses, and there are three basic tenets that largely define my positions. Tenet One: We must transition from fossil fuels with a sense of urgency. I believe we have built structural dependency on a depleting and unsustainable resource. That… Continue»