National Security And Global Warming: Never Mind

Posted on Mon 01/25/2010 by

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By James Carafano, PhD

One of the loudest drumbeats in support of “Cap and Trade” legislation has been if the United States doesn’t tackle climate change with legislation we’ll face a national security catastrophe. Nations will collapse, waves of refugees will sweep the world, and states will war on other states over scarce resources.

The poster child for the national security nightmare argument was melting glaciers in India that would lead to dramatic shortages of fresh water and water wars between nuclear-armed states. Now comes a report from India —never mind. Apparently the claim from a UN climate panel turns out to be bogus.

I hate to say, “I told you so,” but I did. “While it might feel intuitively appropriate to directly connect the dots between the changing global environment and the human response to global warming,” I testified before a Congressional panel last October that would be a big mistake. We don’t know enough about how human societies or climate work to bet the farm on one big government bill.

In fact, the real national security threat is the “Cap and Trade” bill. You cannot protect the nation without a strong economy. “Cap and Trade” is an economy killer.

I told Congress, “[w]hile the long-term impacts of climate change on national security can be debated, the short-term impact of legislation to curb emissions is more readily apparent. A study by The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis on a similar companion bill proposed in the House finds that the law would make the United States about $9.4 trillion poorer by 2035. Much of this decline would be from reduced economic productivity and job loss. In particular, under the House legislation there would be 1.15 million fewer jobs on average than without a cap-and-trade bill.”

James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., contributes posts at The Foundry. He is Deputy Director, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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