US Military Needs to Get Off Oil by 2040: Report  

Posted by Big Gav in

TreeHugger has a post on a report by CNAS called Fueling the Future Force: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Era (pdf) on the long term need for the US military to eliminate its dependence on oil - US Military Needs to Get Off Oil by 2040: Report.

The United States military must entirely get off oil by 2040 if it wants to reduce operational vulnerabilities, reduce costs, stop new security risks caused by climate change and avoid the coming peak oil supply crunch. That's the word from the Center For a New American Security, whose Fueling the Future Force report details the hows and whys of the situation.

Petroleum is 77% of Military Energy Supply

Report authors Christine Parthemore and Dr. John Nagl say, "Reducing dependency on petroleum will help ensure the long-term ability of the military to carry out its assigned missions. Moving beyond petroleum will allow DoD to lead in the development of innovative technologies that can benefit the nation more broadly, while signaling to the world that the United States has an innovative and adaptable force."

How big is that dependency? Currently US forces rely on petroleum for 77.2% of all energy needs, with "other electric" sources coming in second at 11.4% and natural gas coming at 8.4%.

In Thirty Years Oil Will Be Hard to Come By

Why the 2040 timeframe? The report lays it out (emphasis is mine):
This 30-year timeframe reflects market indicators pointing towards both higher demand for petroleum and increasing international competition to acquire it. Moreover, the geology and economics of producing petroleum will ensure that the market grows tight long before petroleum reserves are depleted. Some estimates indicate that the current global reserve-to-production ratio--how fast the world will produce all currently known recoverable petroleum reserves at the current rate of production--is less than 50 years. Thus, given projected supply and demand, we cannot assume that oil will remain affordable or that supplies will be available to the United States reliably three decades hence. Ensuring that DOD can operation on non-petroleum fuels 30 years from today is a conservation hedge against prevailing economic, political and environmental trends, conditions and constraints.

In other words, 30 years from now there odds aren't good that there will be petroleum to fuel anything with much consistency or at minimum with any level of affordability. This echoes recently revealed reports that the German military is pretty freaked out about the prospect of peak oil as well.

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