More than 150 veterans converged on Washington DC on Thursday to make the case that the United States should fight terrorism and increase security by capping carbon emissions. A coalition of veterans and national security organizations has identified U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, especially oil, and looming effects of climate change as major threats to the security of the nation and the lives of American servicemen and women. Capping carbon emission, as legislation recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would do, would cut global warming and oil dependence.
According Operation FREE, the coalition sponsoring today’s events and lobby day, the United States sends $500,000 every minute to foreign, sometimes hostile, regimes to feed our addiction to oil. Dependence on oil gets the United States embroiled in conflicts overseas and sets us up to unintentionally fund both sides. For example, U.S. Diplomat Richard Holebrooke confirmed last month that Persian Gulf oil is a bigger source of revenue for the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan than either opium or heroin exports.
Droughts, storms, flooding, and other impacts of global warming has the potential to displace millions of people and destabilize nations around the world. The U.S. military takes this threat so seriously that the Pentagon is running simulations on climate change. They are planning for scenarios like hundreds of thousand of refuges from low-lying Bangladesh “streaming into neighboring India, touching off religious conflict, the spread of contagious diseases and vast damage to infrastructure,” according to the New York Times. The Pentagon is concerned that water or food shortages caused by shifting climate could touch off conflict in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia.
“Climate change injects a major new source of chaos, tension, and human insecurity into an already volatile world,” said Senator John Kerry in a speech to the group today. The senator is a Vietnam War veteran and long time advocate of stopping global warming.
The group spent the afternoon meeting with members of the U.S. Senate, which is expected to take up energy and climate legislation this month. Operation FREE wants to see any energy legislation achieve the following goals:
- Allow America to cut down on carbon consumption and carbon emissions.
- Create clean energy incentives that will help accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology, such as electric vehicles, wind power, and solar power, creating green jobs in the process.
- Promote energy efficiency by helping consumers and businesses develop and acquire energy-efficient appliances and buildings.
“We want to see these principles become law so America can call its own shots in the world, combat climate change, and protect our nation’s safety and security,” said Truman National Security Project COO Jonathan Powers in a statement Wednesday.
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