Climate Bill pitched as National Security Issue

October 29, 2009 at 9:58 AM Leave a comment

Senate hearing gets warming warnings from defense world

An island in the Indian Ocean, vital to the U.S. military, disappears as the sea level rises. Rivers critical to India and Pakistan shrink, increasing military tensions in South Asia. Drought, famine and disease forces population shifts and political turmoil in the Middle East.

U.S. defense and intelligence agencies, viewing these and other potential impacts of global warming, have concluded if they materialize it would become ever more likely global alliances will shift, the need to respond to massive relief efforts will increase and American forces will become entangled in more regional military conflicts.

It is a bleak picture of national security that backers of a climate bill in Congress hope will draw in reluctant Republicans who have denounced the bill as an energy tax and jobs killer because it would shift the country away from fossil fuels by limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities.

At the current increasing rate of global carbon dioxide pollution, average world temperatures at the end of this century will likely be about 7 degrees higher than at the end of the 20th century, and seas would be expected to rise by as much as 2 feet, according to a consensus of scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The security implications of global warming were center stage Wednesday at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, one of a series of sessions in advance of voting on the climate bill, possibly as early as next week.

‘Fragile governments’ could fail
“Our economic, energy and climate change challenges are all inextricably linked,” retired Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn told the committee. “If we don’t address these challenges in a bold way and timely way, fragile governments have great potential to become failed states ….a virile breathing ground for extremism.”

“The U.S. military will be called to respond to these threats,” added McGinn, a member of the CNA Military Advisory Board, an influential think tank on military and security issues.

The security implications of climate change have been an issue of growing concern in the defense and intelligence communities.

Dennis Blair, the Obama administration’s national intelligence director, has told Congress that global warming will have broad security implications over the next two decades. Also, the Central Intelligence Agency has created a new group of experts to study the security fallout of increased droughts, population shifts, sea level rise and other likely impacts of severe climate change, and the Pentagon has embarked on a detailed study on the military’s vulnerabilities from a warmer world.

“U.S. vulnerabilities to climate change are linked to the fate of other nations,” says Kathleen Hicks, a deputy undersecretary for defense. She told the Senate panel that senior defense officials believe climate change will make U.S. security challenges more difficult and complex.

While the debate over climate legislation has been sharply split along partisan lines, the alarm over impacts on national security has come from both Democrats and Republicans in the defense and intelligence communities.

For the full story  go to: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33521487/ns/us_news-environment/

 

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Entry filed under: Conservation, Energy, Green Help, Green Tech, National News. Tags: , .

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