Forum to address energy’s role in national security

(Midwest Energy News, March 2, 2012)—Military leaders are increasingly connecting the dots between energy, climate and national security issues. We’ve reported here before on the U.S. military’s push to go green with solar, biofuels and other renewable technologies.

Across the pond, defense leaders in the United Kingdom have also made energy and climate a top priority. Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti is the United Kingdom’s climate and energy security envoy. He’s speaking this afternoon at a public forum on energy and security issues hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

Midwest Energy News
 spoke with Morisetti on Thursday before his visit to Minnesota. The following is a transcript of our conversation, with slight edits made for clarity and conciseness.

How and when did you first start to think about energy and climate change as national security issues?

I think there’s been a growing awareness and their relationships over the last five or six years. A report was written in 2007 by CNA, a Washington-based think tank. Their military advisory board did a piece on climate change and the impact on national security. Subsequently they’ve done some work on energy as well. Continue reading “Forum to address energy’s role in national security”

Mild winter foreshadows climate stress for forests

(Midwest Energy News, January 9, 2012)—As I sit down to write this, the sun is shining, the sidewalks are sloppy, and it’s a balmy 46 degrees outside. It’s January in Minneapolis, but it feels like late March.

It feels fantastic, to take a deep breath outside without the burn of winter we expect here this time of year.

It’s also unsettling.

We’ve seen the news reports about how the winter-that-wasn’t has affected businesses and recreational activities. But as I walked the dogs Friday afternoon — gloves tucked in the pockets of my unzipped jacket — I wondered about the environmental impact of this weird and warm winter.

I called Lee Frelich, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Forest Ecology, to find out whether we’re likely to see consequences in our forests.

The short answer: it’s too soon to say. But a continued lack of cold or snow could cause stress for trees. And it foreshadows a climate shift that would bring huge changes to the region.

“One winter like this might not have a very big impact, but in the future, in a few decades, they mostly might be like this,” says Frelich. Continue reading “Mild winter foreshadows climate stress for forests”