US Energy Use Threatens National Security
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Washington, DC— As the Gulf disaster continues, the Senate considers drastically slimmed-down energy legislation, and the first half of 2010 goes into the books as the hottest on record, senior members of the national security community are raising an alarm.
They say the United States energy posture is a real danger, and climate change is a threat to national security.
These themes are repeated in key national security planning documents, including the Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review, the Annual Threat Assessment of the US intelligence community, and the Obama Administration’s National Security Strategy.
Former Director of the CIA James Woolsey has repeatedly called for the United States to end its addiction to oil. “Oil profits enhance the ability of dictators and autocrats to dominate their people,” he says. US dependence on oil constrains foreign policy options, even putting the US in a position of funding both sides of the war against terror.
“We can’t drill our way out of the cartel’s control of the global oil market, “ Mr. Woolsey says. “We urgently need to reduce oil dependence.”
As the Gulf disaster shows, there are high costs to drilling in our own backyard. And in the longer term, burning oil and other fossil fuels contributes to climate change, which accelerates resource pressures that cause conflict and mass migration. The destabilizing effects of climate change—including sea level rise, droughts, and increasing numbers of severe weather events—lead to the kinds of crises and conflicts that make it more likely that US troops will be sent into harm’s way.
“Climate change affects our security, our economy, and our way of life,” says former Senator Gary Hart, Vice Chairman of the US Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Cutting America’s reliance on fossil fuels, limiting emissions of carbon emissions that cause climate change, and moving toward a clean energy future, would result in a more secure, more sustainable future. The growing global market for clean energy technology is estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually. The United States will need to move quickly to stay competitive in the coming low carbon economy.
Sen. Hart and Mr. Woolsey are among a growing bi-partisan group of leaders who have called for action on clean energy and climate change. As a statement from the Partnership for a Secure America-- signed by Mr. Woolsey, Sen. Hart and dozens of other leading security voices-- puts it: “we must transcend the political issues that divide us—by party and by region—to devise a unified American strategy that can endure and succeed.”
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