(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
Today’s hearing will give us an opportunity to focus on climate change and national security. I want to extend a warm welcome to our former colleague Senator Warner, who retired just last year, and whose leadership on this issue has been invaluable, and to our other witnesses.
For many years, the world’s experts on security have been telling us that global warming is a threat to our nation’s security, and a danger to peace and stability around the world. Their words of warning cannot be ignored:
In 2003, the Defense Department commissioned a study that found the U.S. “…will find itself in a world where Europe will be struggling internally, with large numbers of refugees washing up on its shores and Asia in serious crisis over food and water. Disruptions and conflict will be endemic features of life.”
A 2007 report conducted by Center for Naval Analyses found the United States could more frequently be drawn into situations of conflict “to help provide stability before conditions worsen and are exploited by extremists.”
And just last September, the NATO Secretary General said that global warming will “...sharpen the competition over resources, notably water; it will increase the risks to coastal regions; it will provoke disputes over territory and farming land; it will spur migration; and it will make fragile states even more fragile.”
In addition to the destabilizing impacts that global warming will bring -- shortages of food production due to drought, shrinking supplies of clean water as glaciers recede, displacement of people from low-lying areas as sea levels rise – we must also address the ways in which our dependence on oil makes us more vulnerable.
A May 2009 report by retired U.S. Generals and Admirals, including Admiral McGinn, one of our witnesses today, stated that “a business as usual approach to energy security poses an unacceptably high threat level from a series of converging risks.”
We must heed these warnings to protect our nation’s security. And addressing the threats posed by climate change will also bring tremendous opportunities.
The steps we take to address global warming, including incentives for the development of clean energy, such as wind, solar, geothermal, and algae fuel, and developing a fleet of electric and other highly efficient vehicles, will help lessen our dependence on foreign oil.
Clean energy legislation will also create millions of new clean energy jobs and build a foundation for long-term economic growth.
We need to accelerate the process of building a new American clean energy economy. Clean energy is the United States’ path towards economic leadership, a robust recovery, a cleaner, healthier life for our families, and a safer, more secure world.
I look forward to hearing the testimony of our witnesses today.