Today, the Administration released an Executive Order claiming to address U.S. “Energy Independence.” While energy independence is a credible goal, the actions suggested will not lead to real energy security. Rather, the order removes basic programs, such as the Clean Power Plan and climate resilient development, which bolster the security of our country. This Executive Order is a step in the wrong direction. The American Security Project does not support this and calls on the new administration to protect our national security by effectively addressing climate change.
Climate change impacts the security of our country on two fronts, domestic and international. At the domestic level, climate change threatens our coastal military bases, diverts resources and training time and increases risk across the country. Internationally, climate change acts as a “threat multiplier,” with droughts leading to food insecurity and instability in already volatile countries; some of which are home to international terrorist organizations.
The Clean Power Plan helps lessen these threats by mitigating the source of climate change, greenhouse gases, and encouraging a transition to renewable energy. While existing greenhouse gases will continue to warm the planet for years to come, by acting now, there is an opportunity to avoid catastrophic climate change. Supporting the transition to renewable energy helps minimize these threats and improves our own energy security. It also benefits the United States to engage on climate change and renewable energy; maintaining our presence as a world leader on all issues. The statement that the Clean Power Plan causes “irreparable harm” for “meaningless environmental impacts” is simply false.
The new Executive Order also repeals a number of the former Administration’s actions that were designed to protect our country by integrating resiliency and preparedness into our planning processes. Specifically, the new Executive Order repeals President Obama’s Presidential Memorandum directing the impacts of climate change to be considered in the development of national security-related doctrine, policies, or plans. By removing these important actions, the Administration undermines our country’s ability to the national security impacts of climate change, such as increases in flooding, droughts, and extreme weather.
As ASP has noted in previous posts, we cannot wait to address these looming threats. For too long, America’s leaders in Congress have failed to address the challenges of climate change. Though the Clean Power Plan may not have been a perfect policy, by taking definite action, it began to move the U.S. toward stronger climate action and energy security.
Fortunately, the new Executive Order does not completely undo the progress already made. Only the creation of a new rule could remove the Clean Power Plan entirely and repealing the previous Administration’s Executive Orders doesn’t change policy. Also, the federal government cannot stop state and local governments from taking effective action, nor can it stop the free-market transition from dirty fuels to cleaner energy resources. Still, we cannot stand idly by. ASP will directly engage in the rulemaking process to advocate for action on climate change and real energy security. Inaction will only hurt the U.S., increasing security risks and leaving other nations to take over our leadership role on these critical issues.