Army General: Saving Energy Will Save Lives Army General: Saving Energy Will Save Lives

Army General: Saving Energy Will Save Lives

by Ben Jervey

January 15, 2011
"Until the Defense Department develops battlefield policies recognizing that energy efficiency contributes to military effectiveness," writes retired Army brigadier general Steven M. Anderson in The New York Times, "more blood will be shed, billions of dollars will be wasted, our enemies will have thousands of vulnerable fuel trucks for targets and our commanders will continue to be distracted by the task of overseeing fuel convoys."

As I've said here over and over again—and as others, much more qualified than I have also said—the military and national security argument for clean energy and energy efficiency should not be ignored.

Anderson makes the very strong and clear case for making broad energy efficiency efforts—like insulating structures in extreme climates like Iraq—in the field, and throughout the entire Department of Defense's operations.

The benefits of "an across-the-board Pentagon efficiency mandate?"

First, it would save many lives: there are casualties in one out of every 24 fuel supply convoys in Afghanistan; 47 drivers were killed there last year. It would save money; it costs taxpayers about $66 million a day for air-conditioning in the war zones.

It would also reduce opportunities for the enemy. Some soldiers jokingly call the fuel trucks “Taliban targets,” and for good reason — they are a high-payoff quarry for insurgents using nothing but homemade bombs. In addition, having fewer fuel shipments would allow NATO to take highly trained troops off convoy duty and use them in combat or, even better, send them home.

The seems like the biggest of no brainers. We want to protect our troops, so the Pentagon has to get serious about cutting our reliance—in the field, and at home—on oil.

I recommend Anderson's whole Op-ed as a must read.

Photo: Operation Free

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
Some recent articles by Ben Jervey:
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Army General: Saving Energy Will Save Lives