January 21, 2016

Obama Deploys the ‘Great Green Fleet’

A grand show of climate change awareness.

From December 1907 to February 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt ordered America’s steel-hulled, steam-powered battle fleet to circumnavigate the globe. Nicknamed the “Great White Fleet,” the excursion showed that the United States’ military was a technologically current global superpower. A hundred years later, Barack Obama is trying to demonstrate that the world’s greatest superpower can operate within the constraints of his climate change agenda with a Navy, Mitt Romney noted in 2012, that is the smallest its ever been since 1917. We suppose that’s one way to pay tribute to the past.

On Wednesday, the “Great Green Fleet” launched from San Diego to demonstrate that it can steam across the world’s oceans using nothing but alternative fuel. The Department of Defense wanted the U.S. Navy to run on a 50/50 mix of traditional petroleum and biofuels by year 2020. It seemed to be making headway by using a plant-based jet fuel — for which it paid $29.30 a gallon. After Congress mandated that any alternative fuel had to be competitive with petroleum fuel, the military lowered its standards, as the fuel some ships in the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group are burning is a blend of 10% biofuel and 90% petroleum. In other words, those green ships are running on a biofuel mix similar to the one found at the common gas station. At least the price is right — $2.05 per gallon — for a biofuel that’s composed of beef fat. How American.

While the Obama administration might cite warm, fuzzy feelings for turning the U.S. Navy green, the move toward biofuels means an increase in cronyism, with the green industry positioning itself to make a killing. Meanwhile, the price of oil, thanks to OPEC holding steady on production and Iran entering the world market, is heading ever lower. It makes more sense for the U.S. military to develop nuclear power, but this is what we get from a commander in chief more concerned with fighting the temperature than terrorists.

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