Tonight, President Obama is addressing the nation from the Oval Office regarding the BP oil spill and America's response. While the focus of the speech is rightfully going to be BP and the immediate response to the crisis in the Gulf, the tragedy also has brought attention to the true cost of America's dependence on fossil fuels and the need for a national energy strategy. A sustainable approach to energy that invests in securing clean energy and combating climate change makes America a more secure and powerful nation. American business leaders recognize this and in growing numbers support a comprehensive energy strategy from the government to spark innovation in energy technology that will be a boost to our economy - as well as our security and global influence. As Bill Gates said this past weekend, "the government has to prime the pump here." Conservatives who choose political posturing over constructive action are putting themselves at odds with business, military and science leaders - not the way to get out of the mess we're in.
Against the backdrop of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the United States Senate is ramping up for debate on energy and climate change legislation. As legislators consider different approaches to forging a new energy policy, they should keep in mind the words of former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John Warner (R-VA) who said that "Climate change, national security and energy dependence are interrelated global challenges." In addition to the environmental disaster spreading across the gulf, there are a multitude of national security concerns that arise from America's fossil fuel dependency and the effects of climate change. Countless bipartisan and nonpartisan military and national security leaders have warned about such circumstances for years. But despite this, opponents of a clean energy future for the United States continue to delay, distract, and undermine attempts to address this issue. In particular, extreme conservative politicians willfully ignore the real challenges posed to American security by climate change, preferring instead to politicize and trivialize the national security impacts of such a future. It is time for the cheap political posturing on this serious national security issue to end, as one retired general clearly put it: "Military leaders know this isn't about polar bears and ice caps, it's about international stability and national security."
Yesterday, the Pew Project on National Security, Energy, and Climate Change, along with former Sen. John Warner (R-VA) released a report on the military's efforts to address the challenges of climate change and energy security. The military has recognized climate change and energy security as serious national security challenges that need to addressed, and has been a leader in efforts to adapt to these challenges. As the director of the project said, the military "is doing more than sounding an alarm; it has enacted energy goals and is inventing, testing and deploying new technologies and alternative fuels to meet those goals. The military is, in many respects, leading the way and helping to reenergize America's future." In addition to the military's recognition of the challenges ahead, bipartisan support to address energy and climate issues in order to better protect America also exists. Yet despite the advice and efforts of military and national security leaders outlined in the Pew report, extreme conservatives continue to play politics and ignore the serious consequences posed by climate change and energy insecurity.
Today veterans from around the country join former Republican Senator John Warner at the White House to make the case for action on climate change and energy security. National security experts, retired military officials, and many prominent conservatives are in agreement that the twin challenges of climate change and energy security pose a threat to our way of life, global order, and our security. Tackling these issues will require action from all areas of government. The House of Representatives recently took a hugely important step in passing energy and climate change legislation, but the legislation now looks to be bogged down in the Senate. Warner's leadership and the military's concern highlight that energy security and climate change are not partisan issues - they are long-term challenges to our security, our economy and our way of life that we need to start meeting as a nation now. Pretending we can just go on as we are isn't just ignorant, it's dangerous.
President Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia today against the backdrop of a month straight of rising gas prices. While the economic crisis has pushed oil prices down far below what they were last year, the volatility of energy supplies and the likely increases in demand for energy from the developing world makes decreasing America’s dependence on fossil fuels a top priority.Enacting cap and trade legislation, investing in renewable energy technology, and taking a leadership role on the global stage are not simply important steps – they are vital steps for America’s national security.
Today President Obama took an important first step in addressing the threats of global warming and oil dependence by giving states more power to limit greenhouse emissions from cars and also beginning the process of raising fuel efficiency standards. These steps are important not just for our economy and the well being of our planet but for America’s national security.
This morning, President Bush outlined his domestic legacy during a forum at the American Enterprise Institute. For more than two centuries, much of America's power and influence abroad has come from its domestic strength, specifically the vibrancy of its economy and the respect other countries had for its values. The Bush administration leaves a legacy at home that has greatly weakened US economic competitiveness and moral authority abroad.