Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The DoD's Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (CCAR)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has led efforts to address climate change and this leadership will increase with the release of the Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (CCAR). As the world’s single largest energy consumer, this initiative has global implications. The DoD understands the geopolitical consequences of climate change which include conflict acceleration and greater competition for basic resources, both of which will have serious implications.

In 2009 Executive Order 13514 directed all federal agencies to evaluate their climate change risks and vulnerabilities. It also directed agencies to start developing plans for dealing with those impacts. In 2010 DoD elaborated a strategy for action known as 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.

Since 2009, the DoD has been increasing its reliance on sustainable sources energy including solar power (both stationary and portable solar power) and biofuels. The US military is already using more renewable energy and less fossil fuels. Renewable sources of energy now make up 8.5 percent of the DoD's energy production and procurement. By 2025 the military plans to generate 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources. The DoD is also heavily invested in alternative fuel vehicles, smart microgrids and EV-to-grid systems.

In President Obama's most recent budget, there are approximately $1 billion for energy conservation efforts in the DOD. In 2013 the DoD released the CCAR which outlines the issues associated with climate change. They include operational hardships, reduced training opportunities, reduced access by ground vehicles, infrastructure degradation, increased costs and greater risks from wildfires, coastal flooding and other extreme weather.

The CCAR states that DoD decision-making should be determined by climate science, by fully integrating “climate change considerations into its extant policies, planning, practices and programs.” which includes stressing “the importance of the science-policy interface,” and ensuring that the “best available science” is available to DoD decision-makers.

CCAR also outlines the need for the DoD to cultivate international and domestic partnerships. The document emphasizes collaboration by describing climate change as

“…a unique opportunity to work collaboratively in multilateral forums, promoting a balanced approach that will improve human and environmental security in the region.”

The CCAR has far reaching implications including adding weight to the argument for the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In addition to the practical elements, the DoD's roadmap has persuasive implications for Republican deniers who continue to resist efforts to engage the war on climate change.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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