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Forbes magazine ran a thoughtful piece today from Wesley Clark, retired Army General and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO. Clark details the military case for fully embracing solar energy, touching on the strategic benefits for the United States of moving away from centralized fossil fuel infrastructures, the cost benefits already realized, and the scale of emissions reductions that would result. In making the case for why the Department of Defense is, and should continue to be, a leader in this space, he states: (more…)
And what better post-break gift than a new report from the Center for a New American Security? “Cooperation from Strength: The United States, China and the South China Sea” is a good one. You should read the whole thing. But given our focus on climate and security, we’re going to briefly highlight the section on climate change in Will Rogers’ chapter “The Role of Natural Resources in the South China Sea.” (more…)
E3G’s Tom Burke looks at the IEA’s annual World Energy Outlook, highlighting the contrast between the technological and economic possibility of carbon neutrality in the short-term, and the seeming political impossibility of getting there, despite the severe risks associated with delay. Our favorite line: “economies will eventually recover, the climate is for ever.” It’s worth a read.
A report released last week by the Center for Naval Analysis’ Military Advisory Board (or MAB), made up of some of the United States’ highest-ranking retired military leaders, called for “immediate, swift and aggressive action” over the next decade to reduce U.S. oil consumption 30% in the next ten years. This is the latest in a series of reports by the MAB, beginning with the 2007 release of “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change.” The report, titled “Ensuring America’s Freedom of Movement: A National Security Imperative to Reduce U.S. Oil Dependence,” states emphatically that “America’s dependence on oil constitutes a significant threat– economically, geopolitically, environmentally, and militarily” and that “even a small interruption of the daily oil supply impacts our nation’s economic engine, but a sustained disruption would alter every aspect of our lives — from food costs and distribution to what or if we eat, to manufacturing goods and services to freedom of movement. (more…)
Nuclear power is often offered as a climate friendly energy source, albeit not without some security risks. One of those risks – the half-life of spent nuclear fuel, or the amount of time until the waste is no longer radioactive, is of particular concern. Spent nuclear fuel includes lots of radioactive elements that take a long, long time to become safe. Here’s a quick look at how long is long:
The half-life of Iodine-129 is 15.7 million years. To put this in context, fifteen million years ago was a full ten million years before the predecessor to humans, Australopithecus afarensis, appears in the archaeological record (read 10 million years before the opening scene of “2001 A Space Odyssey”). (more…)