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Climate Change Navy climate change Rolling Stone

Published on February 18th, 2015 | by Tina Casey


US Navy Reacts To Blockbuster Rolling Stone Climate Change Story

February 18th, 2015 by  

We’ve spilled a lot of ink on the Defense Department’s efforts to call attention to climate change, and now the gloves are really off. Go to Facebook and find Navy Task Force Energy, and right up top you’ll see a link to last week’s Rolling Stone blockbuster climate change article complete with the incendiary title, “The Pentagon & Climate Change: How Deniers Put National Security at Risk.”

Lest you think this is just a link, the Navy’s climate change post starts off with a forceful declaration of support for the Rolling Stone article, it includes the subtitle “The leaders of our armed forces know what’s coming next – but deniers in Congress are ignoring the warnings,” and caps it off with the rather dramatic illustration from the publication. Here’s a partial screenshot:

Navy climate change Rolling Stone

If you can’t find the post on Facebook, here’s how the Navy teases that Rolling Stone link (hashtags deleted for readability):

Climate change is not only a threat to the environment but a threat to our national security. Coastal military bases and U.S. Navy missions on seas are at risk. Military readiness could be compromised by these environmental changes. Read about the challenges the Pentagon faces posed by a changing climate.

The US Navy And Climate Change

The Rolling Stone article really is spectacular and well worth a read in full. It focuses on the climate change impacts faced by Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, all laid out in chilling detail.

Writer Jeff Goodell notes that President Obama has taken to framing climate change in terms of national security risks, leading him into this observation about Obama’s thinking (break added for readability):

…it’s also a way of boxing in all the deniers in Congress who have blocked climate action — many of whom, it turns out, are big supporters of the military. The Senate Armed Services Committee is made up of characters like James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Ted Cruz of Texas and Jeff Sessions of Alabama, and is headed by John McCain of Arizona…

The House Armed Services Committee is now chaired by Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, who argued in a 2011 op-ed that prayer is a better response to heat waves and drought than cutting carbon pollution.

If you want more names of members of Congress who deny climate change, Think Progress has published a list of 170 such legislators, complete with incriminating quotes, under the title “The Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus.”

By the way, that figure of 170 doesn’t include legislators who refrain from making ridiculous statements about climate change in public, but who nevertheless actively work against policies that will help reduce emissions.

CleanTechnica just found one such closet climate denier in Indiana. If you know of any others, drop us a note in the comment thread.

The US Navy And Renewable Energy

So much for our leaders in Congress.

Speaking of leadership, we had an interesting conversation about sustainability leadership a while back with Rebecca R. Rubin, President and CEO of the sustainability consulting firm Marstel-Day.

Rubin hammered home the point that sustainability policy can only succeed when top leadership is fully engaged, and in that respect the US Navy does not disappoint.

Navy Secretary Ray Maybus has emerged as one of the most forceful and eloquent advocates for climate action, and specifically for new energy technology.

Here’s a couple of snippets from his speech last spring at the Arizona State University Global Institute of Sustainability in which he explains why the Navy is historically wired to act on climate change. Don’t blink or you’ll miss the veiled reference to climate deniers:

Sailors, no matter where they are from, look out over the ocean and see nothing but the horizon, nothing but the future.


…After all, it was the Navy that switched its source of power from sail to steam in the 19th Century, from steam to oil at the beginning of the 20th Century and we pioneered nuclear power as a propulsion source in the middle of the 20th Century. And, by the way, every single time we made one of these dramatic changes in energy there were naysayers who spoke and worked against the change.

If you want to find out how the Navy is working towards those”dramatic changes in energy” you can find tons more coverage at CleanTechnica and related news at our sister site Planetsave.

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Image credit (screenshot): Courtesy of Department of the Navy Task Force Energy. 


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About the Author

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. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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