Ep 119: How can maximizing our energy and water efficiency bolster national security?

The more efficient we are with our use of energy, the less we rely on foreign resources. Energy Bite expert Jared Cohon, Director of the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation and former President of Carnegie Mellon University, explores the relationship of energy efficiency to national security.



Learn more

Energy Conservation Research from RAND

Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use from the National Academies Press

Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States from the National Academies Press

Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security from the U.S. Department of State

Energy Information Administration FAQ: Petroleum Imports


HOST: How can maximizing our energy and water efficiency bolster national security? On this week’s Energy Bite, Jared Cohon, director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, has some answers.

COHON: Becoming more efficient in the way we use energy and other natural resources has important implications for national security. The more efficient we are with our use of energy, the less oil we import and the less complications related to where that oil comes from – such as the Middle East.

Some think that more wars are fought about oil than any other issue. And even when there is no active conflict, the United States invests significantly to maintain a military posture that protects the Nation’s interests, including its access to energy supplies.

HOST: How does water factor into this?

COHON: If oil has been a major source of conflict up to now, water will be the flash point of the future. Rivers and lakes don’t respect political boundaries. Access to shared water bodies already creates tremendous friction among countries and states. Consider the Jordan River in the Middle East or the Colorado River here in the U.S. And, these tensions will likely get worse as our continued use of fossil fuels alters climate and water patterns—which brings us back to the importance of energy efficiency.

HOST: Would concerns about national security enhance your energy efficiency habits? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at Energy Bite dot org.

ANNOUNCER: Energy Bite is a co-production between 90.5 WESA and Carnegie Mellon’s’ Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.


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