Climate change is a national security issue. That’s the conclusion of the Obama administration’s recent National Security Strategy report. Or, in the words of the report: “Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water.”
Even the Bush administration acknowledged that climate change is a national security threat: A 2008 national intelligence assessment found that climate change “will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the next 20 years.” But the Obama administration takes the threat of climate change so seriously that it has actually done something to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The section of the report about climate change touts how the Obama administration has reduced emissions, claiming that U.S. emissions “have declined by a larger total magnitude than those of any other country.” The administration’s Climate Action Plan set the goal of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025. The administration also set standards to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.
Someone needs to get a memo to Republican lawmakers that climate change is real and a threat. Some well-known GOP members of Congress have made statements regarding climate change in the last year. Here’s a sample:
“I don’t agree with the notion that … there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate,” said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
“The federal government has no business attempting to massively reorder the global economy, resulting in policies that kill jobs and keep people from rising out of poverty, all in the name of a theory that can’t be proven or disproven,” said Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Now that Republicans control both houses of Congress, they are hitting back hard against Obama’s environmental policies. The Energy and Commerce Committee, under the leadership of Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), released an energy legislative action plan that includes building a “modern energy infrastructure to carry abundant new supplies of oil and gas to consumers.”
And of course we’ve all heard about the big showdown going on between the Congress and Obama over the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed 2,000-mile pipeline that would transport oil from the tar sands region of Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas. According to The Hill, Obama is “just days away from issuing the biggest veto of his tenure” over legislation that would give a green light to Keystone.
Image credit: Steve Banks