Hearings - Statement
 
Statement of John Barrasso
Hearing: Full Committee hearing entitled, “Climate Change and National Security.”
Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thank you Madame Chairman,

 
I agree that climate change is a national security issue.
 
The evidence that this is the case is overwhelming.
 
In a recent Reuters article on May 30th entitled “Carbon credit scheme will draw organized crime:  Interpol,” Peter Younger, an environmental crimes specialist at Interpol was quoted as saying
 
“In the future, if you are running a factory and you desperately need credits to offset your emissions, there will be someone who can make that happen for you.  Absolutely, organized crime will be involved.”
 
Interpol has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address this threat. 
 
They have created the “Climate Change Crime and Corruption Working Group.”

The group’s stated goal is to explore legislative restraints and potential loopholes that may potentially lead to the development of new crime areas with result to the issue of climate change.
 
Information on the working group can be found at:
 
 
As of now, two investigators with the EPA participate in this working group at Interpol.
 
As you know, Interpol is the world’s largest international police organization, with 187 member countries.
 
It facilitates cross-border police co-operation, and supports and assists all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat international crime.
 
Interpol and EPA are aware of the potential threat that cap and trade schemes can pose if taken advantage of by these elements. 
 
They recognize the danger that carbon markets could lead to funding streams to international organized criminal elements. 
 
These criminal elements are a threat to all nations.  They traffic in weapons, explosives, fake IDs and passports, drugs, money laundering and human trafficking. 

Some are designated as terrorist organizations.
 
They are the organizations like the FARC in Columbia, the Russian Mafia, or the Mexican drug cartels that threaten our own border.
 
Carbon markets created by Waxman-Markey could become a boon to fund these organizations.
 
We should all be concerned because these groups are a threat to U.S. national security.  Some even operate within our own borders.
 
If we are to endeavor to create a carbon trading scheme here in the U.S., we have to know the national security implications of such an approach.
 
But we need to know, is Interpol’s assessment shared by our intelligence community? 
 
How prepared are they to deal with this potential new funding stream for international criminal organizations in the carbon markets?
 
 
It is for that reason that yesterday, as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight, I sent letters to the Director of National Intelligence,
 
as well as the agency heads of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission,
 
the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
 
In those letters I ask “Given that Congress is considering ‘cap and trade’ legislation that would create carbon credit markets in the United States, whether those agencies agree with Interpol’s assessment about the threats posed by international criminal organizations.
 
I also ask, what threats to U.S. national security would result if criminal or terrorist elements raised funds through carbon markets as Interpol has suggested.
 
In the case of the EPA, I ask what are the current findings of Interpol’s Climate Change Crime and Corruption Working Group, since the organization is being headed by EPA investigators.
 
To my knowledge, our committee has not been briefed on the activities of this working group.  I believe that such a briefing should occur as soon as possible.
 
 
I believe this committee needs to get the full picture from our intelligence and environmental agencies as to the potential threats posed by the manipulation of carbon markets.
 
I have asked that responses to my letters be provided over the next two weeks.
 
I will certainly share the responses with the committee so that we may get a full picture of this national security issue before we vote on legislation to create carbon markets.
 
I thank the Chair. 

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