“While it might survive this year, it will not survive a Republican Congress next year or the military indefinitely. Today, the military brass are only giving it lip service.”
“A decade of wars, the volatility of a global commodity, and DOD dependence as the largest consumer of liquid fuels in the world make diversifying energy sources a national-security imperative.”
“With the economy still shaky, voters won't reward candidates that emphasize environmental issues.”
“With Europe increasing their consumption of coal, international agreements on climate change will take a back seat. More importantly, the issue does not play well in battleground states.”
“Climate change will not be an election issue, other than lobbing some political grenades by Republicans in coal and oil regions which might attract votes”
“Historically, environmental issues are only important in presidential elections when there are no 'guns and butter' issues. The 'butter' issues this year push climate change off the radar screen. It does not help that environmental groups have become part of the Democratic Party—they are taken for granted by Democrats and have no appeal to Republicans, and that is a poor foundation for significant legislative change. Obvious strategic error, assuming these groups are actually interested in change, not fundraising.”
“There's a clear difference between Obama and Romney (and for that matter, the [John] McCain of 2008 and Romney) on climate, but economic issues will trump just about everything else this year, including climate.”
“We've come a long way—or rather, we've taken a lot of steps backward—since 2008. It's amazing to think about how much more polarizing an issue climate change is today than it was during that election. No way will it be a major issue, though energy security and domestic production surely will.”
“The political scars of Waxman/Markey and Kerry/Lieberman/Graham are too deep—both sides will continue to avoid climate change in the campaign as much as possible.”
“Senator McCain had a long, public history of urging action on climate change. Since that time, the opposite has become a litmus test for whether one is a true Republican.”
How likely are the military’s investments in renewable energy to spur similar investments in the private sector?
- Very Likely 31%
- Somewhat Likely 28%
- Not Very Likely 28%
- Not at All 13%
- Other (please explain) 0%
"The military had a track record of investing and developing nascent technologies that eventually become part of the mainstream consumer experience in this county. Think Internet, smartphones, etc."
"This will likely be even more successful with commercially viable, drop-in bio-based fuel options."
"DOD is validating the performance of replacement biofuels in practice and reducing the technical uncertainty surrounding their production processes. Both these developments will spur additional attention and work in the private sector."
"DOD's partnership with private sector and its ability to require or leverage significant private investment to develop or deploy technologies has been a resounding success ... the Internet, GPS, semiconductors, nuclear power. Advanced biofuels is just another in a long line of efforts to enhance our energy security, protect the lives of American warfighters, and shield the Pentagon's budget. And, on advanced biofuels, the Pentagon is requiring the private sector to more than match public investments."
"With defense spending accounting for 4.5 percent of GDP, Pentagon investments in renewable energy function as important research and development for subsequent private investment."
"The military has always been a leader when it comes to technological innovation. Firms supplying biofuels to the Pentagon have cut fuel costs by 80 percent in the past few years—that benefits the private sector too. We should hope the military's investment continues, so that costs and deployment of advanced biofuels expand even further."
"If the Pentagon starts using biofuels in any large ratio, it could bend the cost curve down for the private sector ... especially the aviation industry. Though not at all for renewable electricity."
"Somewhat likely—although that shouldn't matter. These are military capabilities that are needed to ensure national security. We should make the investment regardless of the likelihood to spur similar investments in the private sector."
"Perhaps jaded by all the unfulfilled promises of climate legislation or CES/RES programs, the market participants we've met with are not relying on the military programs to survive or break through. They appear to view the DOD opportunity as a possible large incremental market if it comes together."
Not Very Likely
"Profitable technologies trickle down; wasteful technologies evaporate."
"Investments in renewable energy are benefiting more from all of the federal subsidies and mandates currently in place. The DOD is merely serving as another example of that. All of these market distortions are actually hindering progress in the renewable-energy field."
"The petroleum market is close to $3 trillion per year. If garnering a share of that market isn't incentive enough for a competitive alternative, then the military program won't make much difference."
Not at All
"The private sector—like most consumers—will toy with green technologies, but only if the premium is small—not a multiple of the conventional price."
"Not clear what DOD can do that the [Renewable Fuels Standard] isn't already doing."
National Journal’s Energy and Environment Insiders Poll is a periodic survey of energy policy experts. They include:
Jeff Anderson, Paul Bailey, Kenneth Berlin, Andrew J. Black, Denise Bode, Kevin Book, Pat Bousliman, Michael Bromwich, David Brown, Neil Brown, Stephen Brown, Kateri Callahan, McKie Campbell, Guy Caruso, Neil Chatterjee, Paul Cicio, Douglas Clapp, Eileen Claussen, Steve Cochran, Phyllis Cuttino, Kyle Danish, Lee Dehihns, Robbie Diamond, David Di Martino, Bob Dinneen, Sean Donahue, Tom Dower, Jeff Duncan, John Felmy, Mike Ference, David Foster, Josh Freed, Don Furman, Paul Gilman, Richard Glick, Kate Gordon, Chuck Gray, Jason Grumet, Christopher Guith, Lewis Hay, Fritz Hirst, Jeff Holmstead, David Holt, Skip Horvath, Bob Irvin, Bill Johnson, Gene Karpinski, Joseph T. Kelliher, Brian Kennedy, Kevin Knobloch, David Kreutzer, Fred Krupp, Tom Kuhn, Con Lass, Mindy Lubber, Frank Maisano, Drew Maloney, Roger Martella, John McArther, Mike McKenna, Bill McKibben, Kristina Moore, Richard Myers, Aric Newhouse, Frank O’Donnell, Mike Olson, T. Boone Pickens, Thomas Pyle, Hal Quinn, Rhone Resch, Barry Russell, Joseph Schultz, Bob Simon, Scott Sklar, Bill Snape, Jeff Sterba, Linda Stuntz, Christine Tezak, Susan Tierney, Andrew Wheeler, Brian Wolff, Franz Wuerfmannsdobler, and Todd Young.