Thursday, July 30, 2009

Senate Hearing On Climate Change & National Security

Jul 30: The Senate Environment and Pubic Works Committee, Chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) held a hearing entitled, Climate Change and National Security. Witnesses testifying at the hearing included former Senator John Warner (R-VA); Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn USN (Ret.) Member, Military Advisory Board, Center for Naval Analyses; and representatives from the Truman National Security Project; and Baker Hostetler.

Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK) said, "I’m going to stipulate that the central finding in your reports -- that climate change poses serious national security threats -- is true. I’m even going to stipulate that all of the science informing your reports is true. What I am going to focus on is the link between developing American resources and America’s national security. And I’m going to explain why passing cap-and-trade won’t solve any of the legitimate issues . . ." Inhofe said that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson agreed that unilateral action to address global warming is futile without meaningful participation from China, India, and other developing countries and that Waxman-Markey "would reduce global temperatures by less than one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit by 2050."

Senator Inhofe concluded that "passing cap-and-trade will do great harm to our economic security, to our energy security, and therefore to America’s national security. We cannot on the one hand de-industrialize America and on the other hope that America will remain a great power. The sensible solution here is to free ourselves from Middle East oil by producing more of our resources -- all of our resources -- right here at home, and to pursue policies to encourage manufacturing here in the United States."

Senator Warner testified that, "During my fifth and last Senate term, I was privileged to Chair the Armed Services Committee and serve on this Committee [EPW]. Many retired military officers, and concerned citizens visited with me to discuss the concepts of how America’s military policy, energy policy, and climate policy were interrelated. Unquestionably, they are!" Senator Warner quoted a number of high-ranking public officials and experts and said, "As the testimony of this panel today will confirm, it is the men and women in uniform who will likely be called upon by the President to address adverse situations brought on by erratic climate changes."

Senator Warner recommended that the Armed Services Committee, compile a more detailed record on the security issue and said the "Armed Services Committee has a reputation for achieving consensus on vital issues with a high degree of bipartisanship. History records this record over a half century, for that level of bipartisanship is a duty owed on matters relating to our nation’s security, and, especially to the uniformed personnel and their families." He said, "Bipartisanship is key to today’s public acceptance and endurance and implementation in the future of proposed legislation. The challenges and problems must be addressed by all nations – it’s a global problem with consequences and burdens to be shared by all people. . ." He concluded saying, "The United States must lead, and now. Our nation is among the major emitters of pollution. Only if we lead, stepping forward with a long."

Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn testified that the CNA Military Advisory Board has produced two reports, the first in April, 2007 and the latest in May of this year, focused on the topic of this hearing. The first examined the national security threats of climate change, and the most recent analyzed the national security threats of America’s current and future energy posture. He said, "I have to acknowledge the elephant in the room. We are in the midst of the most serious global financial crisis of our lifetimes. After a year of examining our nation’s energy use, it is clear to all members of our military board that our economic, energy, climate change and national security challenges are intertwined and co-dependent. Our past pattern of energy use is responsible, in no small measure, for our economic situation today. If we do not adequately address our nation’s growing energy demand and climate change now, in wise and visionary ways, future financial crises will most certainly dwarf this one. . .

"Without bold action now to significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, our national security will be at greater risk. Fierce global competition and conflict over dwindling supplies of fossil fuel will be a major part of the future strategic landscape. Moving toward clean, independent, domestic energy choices lessens that danger and significantly helps us confront the serious challenge of global climate change." He concluded, ". . .if we act with boldness and vision now, future generations of Americans will look back on this as a time when we came together as a Nation and transformed daunting challenge and worry into opportunity, a better quality of life and a more secure future for our world."

Jonathan Powers, Retired U.S. Army Captain and Chief Operating Officer Truman National Security Project testified that , "When it comes to climate change, we as a nation have been trying to lead by rank for too long. It is time we begin to lead by example. America is at a critical point, and our security relies heavily on how we address this growing threat. A recent report from the Center for New American Security rightly points out that 'Climate change… may not be a threat that soldiers can attack and defeat, but it is likely to affect the safety and prosperity of every American, both through its effects on global stability and on our local environments.' . . This committee will play a critical roll in once again establishing America as a nation that leads by example. It is vitally important that you develop domestic legislation that will protect our environment and ensure our national security. We can only accomplish this by reducing greenhouse gases, providing clean energy incentives, freeing us from foreign dependence, and growing our economy."

David B. Rivkin, Jr. a Partner with Baker & Hostetler LLP and Co-Chairman of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies testified that, "advocates of the unilateral cap-and-trade approach must rely on either the moral example of the United States’ imposing emission limits on itself, or on the threat or use of trade penalties, to induce other countries to reduce their emissions. These strategies are unlikely to work. . . If climate change is really an issue of national security, it must be treated like one. The United States should approach issues of climate change with the same prudence and realism as any other national security issue. A unilateral cap-and-trade regime which would do nothing for the climate is a huge leap in the wrong direction. . ."

Access the hearing website for links to all testimony and a webcast (
click here). Access Senator Inhofe statement (click here).