Whether it was coincidence or an attack timed to coincide with the first day of National Energy Awareness Month, the October 1 torching of a fuel convoy for NATO and U.S. forces in Pakistan is a dramatic illustration of the point that U.S. military officials have been trying to drum home to us civilians: continued reliance on fossil fuels is a national security risk. According to an Associated Press report, a Pakistani police official attributed the attack to “anti-state elements,” who torched a convoy of 27 tankers. A 28th tanker was also attacked and burned in another part of the country, and the driver and his assistant were killed.
National Energy Awareness Month
The good news is, as a nation and on the state level, the U.S. is finally starting to get serious about alternative energy, no thanks to the oil industry (but what else would you expect?). National Energy Awareness Month apparently started almost 20 years ago as an initiative of the first President Bush, but let’s face it, the whole awareness thing is just lip service unless you put some serious resources behind it, and take some political risks, too. That’s exactly what President Obama’s Recovery Act has done. The Recovery Act has pumped $90 billion into the kind of research, development and commercialization programs that are needed to make a real change. Along with ramped-up investments in transformative energy technologies and other sustainable energy programs, the Obama administration has set new fuel economy standards for vehicles and issued the first ever greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks.
National Energy Awareness and National Security
In his official proclamation, President Obama states, “Fossil fuel pollution has already begun to change our climate, posing a grave and growing danger to our economy, our national security, and our environment.” This President has made alternative energy a national priority and is fulfilling his role as Commander in Chief by acting on the climate change threat acknowledged by the Department of Defense. As for those who continue to tout the drill, baby, drill approach, perhaps a little less self-interest and a little more support for national interests would be in order.
Image: Sculptures at oil well by skampy on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.