On Feb. 1, Pentagon officials testified before Congress about the threats that climate change poses to national security and geopolitical stability. The report that was presented points to climate change in regions such as Darfur as the primary cause for mass migrations, resource turf wars and even genocide.
With the about-face of the military wing of the U.S. government on climate change, it may not come as a surprise that two of the largest military equipment manufacturers — Lockheed Martin and Raytheon — are both going green.
Last week at the Carbon War Room in Vanocouver, James Kohlhaas of Lockheed Martin spoke about the company's remarkable contributions to the energy management space. Lockheed Martin is now one of the largest implementers of energy efficiency programs in the U.S. serving a number of state agencies and utilities including including Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, Pepco Holdings, AmerenUE, Silicon Valley Power, Cascade Natural Gas, the Energy Trust of Oregon, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
According to Lockheed's recent press release, the company's energy management programs have saved 400,000 megawatts of electricity and 4 million therms of natural gas in 2009, enough to power 40,000 homes (the CO2 equivalent of 55,000 cars).
Kohlhaas announced last week that the company will be taking its sophisticated energy management systems into the private sector, offering manufacturers a way to track and manage the energy efficiency of their supply chains and ultimately, the ability to attach a "carbon nutrition label" at the product level, so a consumer can chose between products based on their embodied energy and CO2 emissions.
Another military industrial leader, Raytheon just awarded Cyclone Power Technologies a contract to develop its external combustion engine. The Cyclone Engine is akin to a portable steam turbine plant that offers huge efficiencies by capturing and reusing heat and running on renewable biofuels. The contract will give the company capitol to develop several applications of the technology including household versions of the engine.
All this in the same month that Obama requested $700 billion for ongoing military operations in Afghanistan. If you subscribe to the theory that the war in Afghanistan has to do with securing foreign oil supplies, then you will probably also agree that diverting a portion of those funds to building our own made-in-America renewable energy infrastructure with the help of companies like Lockheed and Raytheon would be a better investment in both job creation and national security.