Recently reported in the New York Times , Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) hopes to win Senate support for climate change legislation by linking global warming with national security. Long time hawk and former Sen. John Warner (R-VA) has also caught on to the idea, testifying on the Hill even, proving it a possible strategy to sway more hawkish conservative Republicans and Democrats to support the Waxman-Markey bill in September.
Military experts understand the threats associated with climate change. A number of reports published from the National Intelligence Assessment and the Defense Department have warned of the possible geo-political strife –caused by events like natural disasters and mass migration –that will likely strain and overwhelm our military’s capabilities to respond, assist and maintain stability.
Recent findings by the Center for Naval Analyses –that includes top retired military officials –brings the problem closer to home by demonstrating the connection between energy, security, economics and climate change.
In summary the report warns:
• U.S. dependence on oil weakens international
leverage, undermines foreign policy objectives,
and entangles America with unstable or
• Inefficient use and overreliance on oil burdens
the military, undermines combat effectiveness,
and exacts a huge price tag—in dollars
• U.S. dependence on fossil fuels undermines
economic stability, which is critical to national
• A fragile domestic electricity grid makes our
domestic military installations, and their critical
infrastructure, unnecessarily vulnerable to
incident, whether deliberate or accidental.
Most important to national security, America must end its dependency on oil. Beyond concerns of the continued burning of fossil fuels that contribute to the greenhouse effect, America’s energy security is a cause for alarm. The U.S. relies upon foreign oil to meet energy needs. Right now nearly 60 percent of our oil is imported, placing the U.S. in an extremely vulnerable position—we are at the mercy of the world markets.
Secondly, oil reserves are dwindling with greater global demand. The U.S. holds just over 2 percent of the world’s total oil reserves. The solution? Renewable energy can place us on the path to energy independence and security.
Source: BP's 2009 Statistical Review of World Energy
The catastrophic effects of global warming place the U.S. at definite risk. Not even the strongest military in the world will be able to handle the pressures induced by what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon states  “is the greatest collective challenge we face.” This is why Congress must pass cap-and-trade legislation in September to begin to tackle climate change; but surely many in the Senate will stand in the way. Reframing the argument with a national security bent may be the last chance for opponents to warm in support of cap-and-trade or it's toast.