Weaponizing nature : the geopolitical ecology of the US Navy’s biofuel program

Bigger, Patrick and Neimark, Benjamin D. (2017) Weaponizing nature : the geopolitical ecology of the US Navy’s biofuel program. Political Geography, 60. pp. 13-22. ISSN 0962-6298

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Abstract The United States military is treating climate change as a crucial factor in its preparation for future conflicts. This concern manifests not only in strategic planning and forward-looking documents, but also in building infrastructural capacity and material provision. Yet, the impetus to ‘green’ the military goes beyond the deployment of existing technologies. We examine several facets of the military's role as an environmental actor, particularly through its promotion of the US Navy's ‘Great Green Fleet’ (GGF), which actively supports the development of advanced biofuels by subsidizing their development and facilitating wider marketization. The GGF promises to reduce military reliance on conventional fossil fuels and reconfigure its energy sourcing, thus reducing dependence on imported hydrocarbons; this is with an eye towards ultimately severing the logistical relationship between existing energy infrastructures and the spaces of military intervention. Taking an integrated lens of political ecology and geopolitics - ‘geopolitical ecology’ - we seek to provide an understanding of the production of weaponized nature. We demonstrate that the US military's discursive use of climate change to justify the provision of new military hardware and advanced biofuels promotes a vision of resource conflicts to support the development of technologies to overcome the constraints to delivery of fuel to emergent front lines. We argue that while this may appear to be militarized greenwashing, it signals a shift in the logics and practices of fuel sourcing driven by a dystopian vision of climate change, which the US military played a significant role in creating.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Political Geography
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Political Geography. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Political Geography, 60, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.03.007
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? geopolitical ecologybiofuelsus navymarketsterritoryhistorysociology and political sciencegeography, planning and development ??
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Deposited On:
03 Apr 2017 09:28
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2023 00:31