The Diplomat: Military Preparedness for Climate Disasters will Limit Scope for CO2 Savings

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Jacob Parakilas of The Diplomat makes a good case for why greening the military is a logistical absurdity. Sadly Jason does not follow through, and apply his own logic to considering everyone elses needs.

Prepping the US Military for Climate Change 

By Jacob Parakilas
February 04, 2021

A few weeks ago, I was asked to contribute to a new Diplomat Risk Intelligence report examining a range of risk scenarios for the Biden administration in the Asia-Pacific over the coming years. The scenario I wrote about was a typhoon, strengthened by warmer waters, clobbering the Philippines and Taiwan. The disaster in this scenario was not merely humanitarian but also geopolitical: The storm strikes during a major PLA military exercise and causes significant damage to the Taiwanese Navy, leading to an urgent call for American aid.

The scenario is fiction. But the vulnerability to extreme weather is very real. In 2018, the main training base for the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of F-22 Raptors took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael, causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage. The 2011 tsunami flooded out an entire squadron of what were at the time Japan’s newest and most expensive fighter jets. And in 2019, Offutt Air Force Base – the command center that President George W. Bush was evacuated to on 9/11 – was inundated with floods following an increasingly common inland cyclones.

… one of the crucial things the military needs to be prepared for in an age of climate crisis is a greater tempo of humanitarian relief operations. But such operations require a large, on-call force of strategic and tactical airlift, transport helicopters, and large transport and amphibious vessels – none of which can be easily converted to use carbon-neutral propulsion. It is, at an impossibly large scale, the air-conditioning paradox. The military can be prepared to assist the victims of growing numbers of climate disasters or it can scale back its own contributions to those disasters; absent a miraculous near-term technological breakthrough, it cannot effectively do both.

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The obvious contradiction between greening the military, and the military’s ability to conduct any kind of operation, is a mirror of the harm top down climate action will do and is doing to society as a whole.

People embrace new technology when it is ready, without any need for government incentives or coercion.

Milk delivery carts, those few still in operation, have mostly been battery electric powered for over 100 years, because electricity is a good choice for this application; a slow, short distance predictable journey with frequent stops and a need to keep the noise down.

But for longer journeys, with unpredictable distances, where cost is a concern, or where time is a factor, carbon friendly technology options are an inconvenience or worse. Just ask John Kerry.

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via Watts Up With That?

February 4, 2021 at 08:40AM

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