By Lisa McCrummen
Friday, August 14, 2009
Will military Experts “wake up” the Obama administration to the national security issue of our time: global warming caused by U.S. dirty fuel dependence? Military to Obama: dirty fuel threatens national security.
Who'd of thunk it: top US military experts are conducting what might be seen as strategic military outreach to help the Obama administration understand what the military already knows is the defining national security issue – the impacts of global warming, caused by continued US dependence on dirty fuels.
Following on Pentagon and Defense Department funded reports and warnings from leading climate scientists, these top military leaders, believe that our nation is at a critical juncture. They recently testified before Congress that we cannot pursue energy independence by taking steps that would contradict our emerging climate policy. Energy security and a sound response to climate change cannot be achieved by pursuing more fossil fuels; suggesting that unless we recognize this new paradigm and quickly respond, our national security will be at risk.
What's even more astounding: these same top military leaders are both embracing the rapid adoption of Obama Administration's vision for a clean energy economy and taking it a step further; they believe that the US must quickly stop consuming oil and other fossil fuels.
Says Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, USN, Retired Member, Military Advisory Board, CAN for Foreign relations testimony: "Moving beyond recent studies on the dangers of imported oil, our new report finds that not just foreign oil – but all oil – and not just oil but all fossil fuels, pose significant security threats to military mission and the country, and are "exploitable by those who wish to do us harm." He adds: "Our nation requires diversification of energy sources and a serious commitment to renewable energy. Not simply for environmental reasons – for national security reasons."
Clearly, this is the ultimate paradigm shift for the US.
And, while the Obama Administration has pledged to move forward on a new energy economy and to break America's addiction to oil and other dirty fuels, new intelligence from these military leaders show that the President must act quickly.
Obama: Not Walking the Walk
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration appears to be conducting business as usual. Earlier this week, Obama met with Canada's Premier, Stephen Harper (which sells its high carbon, dirty oil mostly to the U.S. ) and Mexico's President Caldera to discuss, among other things, climate change and energy. It was a non-event.
While Canada continues to claim that it is on track with its climate policy, the truth is Canada’s growing reliance on the heavily polluting tar sands oil production has caused the country to neglect its commitments to curb global warming.
And Obama left the table with the status quo intact, and his pledges to move forward in limbo: Right now, the US and Canada are jointly planning a massive investment to greatly increase the use of the dirtiest oil of oil, tar sands from Canada, that will tie the U.S.'s energy future to buying Canada's dirty oil.
Big Oil Fights For Dirty Oil With Familiar Tactics
We can expect a lot of hype (and coverage) on the importance of continuing our oil consumption – as the oil industry continues to follow its climate denier playbook meets grassroots ‚Äòactivism'. They are now helping organize anti-climate bill rallies around the nation. The American Petroleum Institute, along with other organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers opposed to the climate legislation Congress will consider again in the fall, is funding rallies across 20 states over the August recess. In template fliers for rallies produced by the* API-founded alliance*, EnergyCitizens, the public is warned that “Climate change legislation being considered in Washington will cause huge economic pain and produce little environmental gain.”
Why does this sound so familiar? Remember the infamous Global Climate Coalition. Prior to Kyoto, they took advertisements out to effectively frighten people by saying that among other things "Americans will pay the price‚Ä¶ 50 cents more for every gallon of gasoline" despite their being no such proposal. They effectively undermined public support of any US efforts to take a lead on climate change, preventing the Clinton/Gore administration from taking the strong action they had promised.
But, the real price is not about hype. Every barrel of Canadian oil that the US buys, threatens our national security while also undermining our energy security, climate security and our economic opportunities.
Obama’s Chance to Show Clean Energy is Real
A real life litmus test is expected by the US State Department decision is expected on the first part of this massive infrastructure, a permit will be issued or denied by the Obama administration (State Department) allowing the Alberta Clipper carrying massive amounts of dirty oil sands crude into the US.
We must hope President Obama begins to wake up to what so many are asking from him. Continuing our business as usual approach is a giant step backwards for the US and putting our nation's security at risk is way too high a price.
General Gordon Sullivan, Former Chief of Staff of the United States Army, who chaired the Military Advisory Board of the Center for Naval Analysis "The Cold War was a specter, but climate change is inevitable. If we keep on with business as usual, we will reach a point where some of the worst effects are inevitable‚Ä¶ back then, the challenge was to stop a particular action. Now the challenge is to inspire a particular action. We have to act if we are to avoid the worst effects."
For More Information:
News and Blogs
- Obama’s tar sand trap, by James Hansen in The Guardian. 2/18/2009.
- Senate Democrats Tie Climate Effort to National Security, by Darren Samuelsohn in the New York Times. 7/31/2009.
- Tar Sands Keeps Canada from Climate Leadership, a blog posting from Natural Resource Defense Council’s Susan Casey-Lefkowitz. 8/7/2009.
- Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate, by Andrew C. Revkin in the New York Times. 4/23/2009.
- The Secret Campaign of President Bush’s Administration To Deny Global Warming, by Tom Dickinson in Rolling Stone. 6/28/2007.
Hearings, Speeches and Testimony
- Speech by Canada’s Minister of the Environment, Jim Prentice, on canada’s offset system for greenhouse gases.
- U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Hearing: Climate Change and Global Securtiy: Challenges, Threats and Diplomatic Opportunities.7/21/2009