Republicans & Democrats Agree: U.S. Security Demands Global Climate Action

For years, America’s intelligence community and armed services have recognized climate change as a threat to U.S. national security – shaping a world that is more unstable, resource-constrained, violent, and disaster-prone. This issue is critically important to the world’s most experienced security planners. The impacts are real, and the costs of inaction are unacceptable. America’s elected leaders and private sector must think past tomorrow to focus on this growing problem, and take action at home and abroad.

The U.S. Department of Defense has defined climate change as a global threat multiplier – exacerbating instigators of conflict such as resource disputes, ethnic tensions, and economic discontent. Operationally, they see its potential to prevent access to their workforce, degrade the security of installations, impede training and readiness, and impair force capacity. Through proactive efforts, the DoD is setting an example for preparedness. As a nation, we need to do the same here and overseas.

At this moment in history, the U.S. must grab the mantle of global leadership to engage other nations and overcome this challenge. Combating the consequential national security dangers posed by the changing climate cannot be done alone. American leaders must enlist international partners to ensure that all countries do their fair share. For twenty years, the U.S. has asserted that this is a global problem that will require global solutions. Now, with crucial actors like China, Brazil, and Mexico making earnest commitments, we have an opportunity to advance that approach.

The U.S. has always led on big global challenges. We must tackle this threat by mobilizing the strength and ingenuity of the U.S. government and business community to seek effective, financially-sound approaches. This takes public and private sector expertise, funding, and coordination. We can ensure a prosperous future for our nation by shoring up resilience and mitigation efforts at home, assisting vulnerable partners abroad, and planning past tomorrow – where Americans will live with the decisions of today.

A responsible approach to managing climate risk requires us to transcend the political issues that divide us – by party, region, and ideology – and implement an effective strategy that can endure and succeed. Our national security community is thinking seriously and planning long term. It is time for the country’s elected leaders to join them in doing the same.

Signatories:

Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State 1997-2001
Birch Bayh, Jr., US Senator (D-IN) 1963-81
Samuel Berger, National Security Advisor 1997-2001
Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor 1977-81
Nicholas Burns, Undersecretary of State 2005-08
William Cohen, Secretary of Defense 1997-2001, US Senator (R-ME) 1979-97
Norm Coleman, US Senator (R-MN) 2003-09
John C. Danforth, US Senator (R-MO) 1976-95, US Ambassador to the UN 2004-05
Bob Ehrlich, Governor (R-MD) 2003-07
Thomas Fingar, Chairman, National Intelligence, Council 2005-08
GEN Douglas Fraser, USAF (Ret.), Commander, US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)
Marc Grossman, Undersecretary of State 2001-05
Carlos M. Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce 2005-09
Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense 2013-15, US Senator (R-NE) 1997-2009
Lee Hamilton, US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99, Vice Chair, 9/11 Commission
Gary Hart, US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita Hauser, Chair, International Peace Institute, 1992-present
Carla Hills, U.S. Trade Representative 1989-93
GEN Donald J. Hoffman, USAF (Ret.)¸Commander, US Air Force Materiel Command 2008-12
Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97
Thomas Kean, Governor (R-NJ) 1982-90, Chair, 9/11 Commission
GEN Ron Keys, USAF (Ret.), Commander in Chief, Air Combat Command 2005-07
Carl Levin, US Senator (D-MI) 1979-2015
Joseph Lieberman, US Senator (I-CT) 1989-2013
ADM Samuel J. Locklear III, USN (Ret.) Commander, US Pacific Command (PACOM) 2012-15
ADM James Loy, USC (Ret.), Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security 2003-05, US Coast Guard Commandant 1998-2002
Richard Lugar, US Senator (R-IN) 1977-2013
VADM Mike McConnell, USN (Ret.), Director of National Intelligence 2007-09
Robert McFarlane, National Security Advisor 1983-85
Donald McHenry, US Ambassador to the UN 1979-81
Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security 2009-13, Governor (D-AZ) 2003-09
Paul O’Neill, Secretary of the Treasury 2001-02
Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense 2011-13
Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury 2006-09
Thomas Pickering, Undersecretary of State 1997-2000
Mark S. Schweiker, Governor (R-PA) 2001-03
George Shultz, Secretary of State 1982-89
Gordon H. Smith, US Senator (R-OR) 1997-2009
Olympia Snowe, US Senator (R-ME) 1995-2013
Richard H. Solomon, President, US Institute of Peace 1993-2012
GEN Gordon R. Sullivan, US Army (Ret.), US Army 32nd Chief of Staff 1991-95
Frances Townsend, Homeland Security Advisor 2004-08
GEN Charles Wald, USAF (Ret.) Deputy Commander, US European Command (EUCOM) 2002-06
GEN Larry D. Welch, USAF (Ret.) US Air Force 12th Chief of Staff 1986-90
Christine Todd Whitman, Governor (R-NJ) 1994-2001, EPA Administrator 2001-03
Frank Wisner, Undersecretary of State 1992-93
R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence 1993-95, Chairman, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
GEN Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), Commander in Chief, US Central Command (CENTCOM) 1997-2000

The Cost of Inaction…

 

… Will be staggering

The effects of climate change in the world’s most vulnerable regions present a serious threat to American national security interests. As a matter of risk management, the United States must work with international partners, public and private, to address this impending crisis. Potential consequences are undeniable, and the cost of inaction, paid for in lives and valuable U.S. resources, will be staggering. Washington must lead on this issue now.

Countries least able to adapt to or mitigate the impacts of climate change will suffer the most, but the resulting crises will quickly become a burden on U.S. priorities as well. Both the Department of Defense and the State Department have identified climate change as a serious risk to American security and an agent of instability. Without precautionary measures, climate change impacts abroad could spur mass migrations, influence civil conflict and ultimately lead to a more unpredictable world. In fact, we may already be seeing signs of this as vulnerable communities in some of the most fragile and conflict-ridden states are increasingly displaced by floods, droughts and other natural disasters. Protecting U.S. interests under these conditions would progressively exhaust American military, diplomatic and development resources as we struggle to meet growing demands for emergency international engagement.

It is in our national interest to confront the risk that climate change in vulnerable regions presents to American security. We must offer adaptive solutions to communities currently facing climate-driven displacement, support disaster risk reduction measures and help mitigate potential future impacts through sustainable food, water and energy systems. Advancing stability in the face of climate change threats will promote resilient communities, reliable governance and dependable access to critical resources.

We, the undersigned Republicans, Democrats and Independents, implore U.S. policymakers to support American security and global stability by addressing the risks of climate change in vulnerable nations. Their plight is our fight; their problems are our problems. Even as we face budgetary austerity and a fragile economic recovery, public and private sectors must work together to meet the funding demands of this strategic investment in internationally-backed solutions. Effective adaptation and mitigation efforts in these countries will protect our long-standing security interests abroad.

 

Signatories

Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State 1997-2001
Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State 2001-05
Samuel Berger, National Security Advisor 1997-2001
Sherwood Boehlert, US Congressman (R-NY) 1983-2007
Carol Browner, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency 1993-2001
Michael Castle, US Congressman (R-DE) 1993-2011, Governor (R-DE) 1985-92
GEN Wesley Clark, USA (Ret.), Fmr. Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO
William Cohen, Secretary of Defense 1997-2001, US Senator (R-ME) 1979-97
Lt Gen Lawrence P. Farrell, Jr., USAF (Ret.), Fmr. Deputy Chief Of Staff for Plans and Programs, HQ USAF
BG Gerald E. Galloway, Jr., P.E., Ph.D., USA (Ret.), Fmr. Dean of the Academic Board, US Military Academy
Wayne Gilchrest, US Congressman (R-MD) 1991-2009
James Greenwood, US Congressman (R-PA) 1993-2005
VADM Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.), Fmr. Inspector General of the Department of the Navy
Lee Hamilton, US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99, Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
Gary Hart, US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita E. Hauser, Chair, International Peace Institute
Carla Hills, US Trade Representative 1989-93
Thomas Kean, Governor (R-NJ) 1982-90, 9/11 Commission Chair
GEN Paul J. Kern, USA (Ret.), Fmr. Commanding General, US Army Materiel Command
Richard Leone, President, The Century Foundation 1989-2011
Joseph I. Lieberman, US Senator (I-CT) 1989-2013
Richard G. Lugar, US Senator (R-IN) 1977-2013
VADM Dennis V. McGinn, USN (Ret.), Fmr. Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs
Donald McHenry, US Ambassador to the UN 1979-81
Constance Morella, US Congresswoman (R-MD) 1987-2003, US Ambassador to OECD 2003-07
Sam Nunn, US Senator (D-GA) 1972-96
John Porter, US Congressman (R-IL) 1980-2001
Tom Ridge, Secretary of Homeland Security 2003-05, Governor (R-PA) 1995-2001
ADM Gary Roughead, USN (Ret.), Fmr. Chief of Naval Operations
Warren Rudman, US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92, Fmr. Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
Christopher Shays, US Congressman (R-CT) 1987-2009
George Shultz, Secretary of State 1982-89
Olympia J. Snowe, US Senator (R-ME) 1995-2013
GEN Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.), Fmr. Chief of Staff, US Army, Chairman, CNA Military Advisory Board
Timothy E. Wirth, US Senator (D-CO) 1987-93
Frank Wisner, Undersecretary of State 1992-93
R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence 1993-95, Co-founder, US Energy Security Council
GEN Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), Fmr. Commander in Chief, US Central Command

Climate Change Threatens All Americans

Climate change is a national security issue. The longer we wait to act, the harder it will be to mitigate and respond to its impacts. U.S. leadership alone will not guarantee global cooperation. But if we fail to take action now, we will have little hope of influencing other countries to reduce their own harmful contributions to climate change, or of forging a coordinated international response.

We must also help less developed countries adapt to the realities and consequences of a drastically changed climate. Doing so now will help avoid humanitarian disasters and political instability in the future that could ultimately threaten the security of the U.S. and our allies.

But most importantly, we must transcend the political issues that divide us – by party and by region – to devise a unified American strategy that can endure and succeed.

We, the undersigned Republicans and Democrats, believe Congress working closely with the Administration must develop a clear, comprehensive, realistic and broadly bipartisan plan to address our role in the climate change crisis. WE MUST LEAD.

Signatories

Howard Baker, US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85
Samuel Berger, National Security Advisor 1997-2001
Warren Christopher, Secretary of State 1993-97
John C. Danforth, US Senator (R-MO) 1977-95
Kenneth M. Duberstein, White House Chief of Staff 1988-89
Slade Gorton, US Senator (R-WA) 1981-87, 1989-2001
Lee Hamilton, US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99, Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
Gary Hart, US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita E. Hauser, Chair, International Peace Institute
Carla Hills, US Trade Representative 1989-93
Nancy Kassebaum-Baker, US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97
Thomas Kean, Governor (R-NJ) 1982-90, 9/11 Commission Chair
Anthony Lake, National Security Advisor 1993-97
Richard Leone, President, The Century Foundation
Robert McFarlane, National Security Advisor 1983-85
VADM Dennis V. McGinn, US Navy (Ret.), CNA Military Advisory Board
Donald McHenry, US Ambassador to the UN 1979-81
Sam Nunn, US Senator (D-GA) 1972-96
William Perry, Secretary of Defense 1994-97
Peter G. Peterson, Secretary of Commerce 1972-73
Thomas Pickering, Under Secretary of State 1997-2000
Joseph Prueher, US Ambassador to China 1999-2001, Commander, US Pacific Command 1996-99
Warren Rudman, US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92, Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
George Shultz, Secretary of State 1982-89
Theodore Sorensen, White House Special Counsel 1961-63
Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.), Chief of Staff US Army 1993-95, CNA Military Advisory Board
Gen. Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.), Deputy Commander US European Command 2002-6, CNA Military Advisory Board
John Warner, US Senator (R-VA) 1979-2009
John Whitehead, Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88
Christine Todd Whitman, Governor (R-NJ) 1994-2001
Timothy E. Wirth, US Senator (D-CO) 1987-93
Frank Wisner, Under Secretary of State 1992-93
R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence 1993-95

This project is made possible by the generous support of The Energy Foundation.

Energy Independence

 

America’s Achilles Heel…

…Is Our Dangerous Dependence on Oil

America’s overdependence on foreign oil is costing American lives, bankrolling many of our worst enemies, and polluting our air.

The time has come for dramatic bipartisan action to address our nation’s Achilles heel — our dangerous dependency on oil. We must reduce our vulnerability to high oil prices and supply disruptions, and address the dangers of climate change resulting from energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

The President’s plan outlined in the State of the Union address was a step in the right direction, but far more needs to be done by the President and Congress to set and achieve new targets for our energy security. We call on members of Congress from both parties and the President to work together to launch a new “Manhattan Project” to deploy and promote cleaner alternative energy sources and increase energy efficiency. Our efforts must match the magnitude of the challenge we face. Specifically, we must:

Set ambitious goals. Commit to a national oil consumption reduction target of 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2025.

Reinvent our Vehicles. Promote the development and implementation of fuel saving technologies.

  • Provide substantial incentives to help automakers retool factories to build more efficient vehicles.
  • Provide $1.4 billion over six years for research, development, deployment, testing, and certification that would speed commercialization of advanced technologies such as plug-in hybrids and stronger lightweight materials.
  • Expand the consumer tax credit for the purchase of vehicles that use fuel saving technology.
  • Your browser may not support display of this image. Significantly strengthen vehicle fuel efficiency standards and establish standards for heavy duty trucks. Allow manufacturers to trade fuel economy credits.

Increase Fuel Choice. Ramp up commercialization of alternative fuels.

  • Invest an additional $1 billion over the next five years in research and production incentives for cellulosic biofuels.
  • Your browser may not support display of this image. Create a program that would provide tax credits, low interest loans, and grants to support the installation of alternative fuel pumps.
  • Require that most new vehicles be flex fuel capable by 2012.
  • Provide substantial funding for efforts that expand electric drive technologies for automobiles.

These common sense measures will grow our economy, protect our environment, and enhance our security.

Our children’s lives and the future of our country depend on our making wise choices today about our energy security for tomorrow. The time to act is now.

 

Signatories

Howard Baker, US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85
Warren Christopher, Secretary of State 1993-1997
Lee Hamilton, US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99
Gary Hart, US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita Hauser, Chair, International Peace Academy
Anthony Lake, National Security Advisor 1993-97
John Lehman, Secretary of the Navy 1981-87
Richard C. Leone, President, The Century Foundation
Robert McFarlane, National Security Advisor 1983-85
Donald McHenry, Ambassador to UN 1979-81
Warren Rudman, US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92
Ted Sorenson, White House Special Counsel 1961-63
John C. Whitehead, Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88

Frank Wisner, Undersecretary of State 1992-93