With all due respect to necessity, war is the mother of all invention.
Need to find planes? Invent radar. Need to find submarines? Invent sonar. Need to wipe out cities? Split the atom. Need to beat the Soviets to the moon? Invent the math and technology required to do so.
If green energy and renewable fuels will be necessary for future military conflict, perhaps we should stop presenting them as environmental issues and instead frame them as matters of national security.
After all, how many years of economically sensible oil consumption remain? 30? 45? 60? A little more than that? Do we really need to wait for dire circumstances to develop an alternative means to operate tanks, trucks, aircraft, and warships? Being an innovator in this regard would give our nation a massive strategic advantage, not only placing us ahead of the international curve, but no longer making us dependent upon Middle Eastern despots for our energy needs.
If a Minnesota high schooler can turn floating plants into biodiesel, don’t tell me our nation’s finest scientists and engineers can’t get this done with a little gumption and a whole lot of funding.
The best news is that once alternate fuels become a national security concern, funding becomes infinite and criticism becomes irrelevant. The list of Defense Department cost overruns and cancelled military programs stretches a mile long.
In the end, everyone wins. Politicians get votes. The military gets money and new toys. The defense industry gets to build the things. America enjoys long-term security and energy stability. The entire planet reaps the environmental benefits. The only losers are the oil companies, who will either need to invest in something else or fall back to their GIANT FUCKING PILES OF MONEY.
The only missing ingredient is a leader with long-term vision and political courage. I’m not holding my breath either, but I will be thinking about this in 2016. Money talks, but an informed, intelligent electorate is far louder.