Navy cutting back emissions, moving toward green vehicles in coming years

The targets are part of the service’s new climate change strategy, which the Navy released on Tuesday.

The Navy will transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and cut its emissions by 65% over the next three decades.

The targets are part of the service’s new climate change strategy, which the Navy released on Tuesday. The document follows the broader Defense Department strategy, which braces the military against the future effects of extreme weather and attempts to mitigate some of the Pentagon’s impacts on the environment.

“The Navy is truly in the crosshairs of the climate crisis and it does impact our combat readiness at the Naval Academy and out in the fleet and in the Marine Corps as well too,” Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro told the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee last week. “We’re making great strides to try to come to terms with this.”

Del Toro noted that Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany became the military’s first net-zero base this month, meaning it gets as much power from renewable resources as it does from fossil fuels.

The report laid out a handful of specific targets that will achieve two specific goals: making sure the Navy and its facilities can operate in a world impacted by climate change; and reducing the Navy’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

To reduce waste, the Navy will cut back emissions by 65% by 2050, will get all of its power from carbon pollution-free sources by 2030 and buy zero-emissions vehicles by 2035. All light-duty vehicles will be zero-emission by 2027. The Navy will also reduce emissions from buildings by 50% by 2032 and divert at least half of its waste from landfills by using other methods like composting food.

The Navy has made efforts in the past to cut back on emissions, but never to this extent. In 2016, it launched its Great Green Fleet, which used alternative fuels to power ships and other vehicles.

The service is developing its strategy around DoD’s five lines of effort on climate change. Those include things like climate-informed decision making, where Navy leaders train for situations of extreme weather, and supply chain resilience, in which the Navy invests in companies that support national security and climate benefits.

“The Navy is leveraging public and private innovation in the climate and energy resilience sectors by implementing Silicon Valley-based principles through NavalX Tech Bridges and business accelerators,” the report states. “Tech Bridges attract small and medium businesses using innovation challenges, often teaming with the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership organizations and the DoD-funded National Security Innovation Network.”

Last October, the Pentagon took its largest step yet to become more climate conscious by releasing its climate adaptation strategy. DoD announced it will create a climate chief and stated that it will consider climate in every decision it makes from now on.

“Climate change will continue to amplify operational demands on the force, degrade installations and infrastructure, increase health risks to our service members, and could require modifications to existing and planned equipment,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in the plan. “Extreme weather events are already costing the Department billions of dollars and are degrading mission capabilities.”

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