Climate at a Glance: National Security

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Bullet-Point Summary:

  • Climate activism rather than climate change poses a significant threat to U.S. national security.
  • The economic strength of the United States is the single greatest factor for ensuring our military remains dominant. However, proposals to restrict U.S. carbon dioxide emissions impose expensive, jobs-killing, economy-killing energy sources on the economy.
  • Earth’s modest recent warming is reducing “threat multipliers” such as crop failures and weather-related catastrophes.
  • The world runs on conventional energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas. The United States possesses and produces more of these resources than any other country. Restricting U.S. production, use, and export of these energy sources would leave the United States and its global allies at the mercy of potentially hostile foreign nations.

Short Summary: Economic strength is the most important factor in determining a nation’s ability to fund and deploy a powerful military over the long term. That is the reason why the United States has by far the world’s most capable military, even though Russia and Canada are larger in size and China and India have far more people. Climate activism puts U.S. national security at grave risk by imposing more expensive and less-reliable energy sources on the U.S. economy. Energy is the lifeblood of our economy. Forcing the U.S. economy to rely on unnecessarily expensive energy sources reduces economic output and America’s ability to fund and deploy a robust military.

Although climate activists claim global warming is increasing threat multipliers, the truth is, the opposite is happening. Even if we accept alarmists’ dubious claims that weather events like droughts and floods pose a serious threat to American national security and make it likely other nations will attack and conquer the United States, Earth’s modest recent warming has had a net beneficial impact on these events. Those net benefits are documented in this Climate at a Glance series.

For example, global crop production is undergoing consistent growth, thanks in part to Earth’s modest warming. Global crop yields set new records virtually every year, reducing climate-related pressures for people to flee their countries and migrate to others.

The United States is the world’s leading producer of the coal, oil, and natural gas that power the American and global economies. This affords us energy security and allows us to bolster allies against the threat of geopolitical energy threats. By contrast, rare earth minerals are necessary for the construction of wind and solar power equipment. China produces more rare earth minerals than the rest of the world combined. Restricting U.S. conventional energy sources and switching to a wind- and solar-based economy would place the United States and its allies at the mercy of Chinese geopolitical energy leverage.

Additional Information: See James Taylor, “Global Warming Energy Restrictions Threaten U.S. National Security,” Policy Brief, The Heartland Institute, March 2019.

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