STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - March 28, 2007)
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Mr. HAGEL. Mr. President. I rise today to join Senator Durbin in introducing the Global Climate Change Security Oversight Act.
Global climate change has implications beyond economic, environmental and energy policies. It has the potential to affect every aspect of our daily lives. It is because of the possible broad impact on U.S. interests at home and abroad that I have agreed to be the lead Republican co-sponsor on the Global Climate Change Security Oversight Act.
Senator Durbin and I differ on policy initiatives designed to reduce the impact of climate change. We do agree, however, on the need to assess potential impacts of the changing climate on U.S. national security interests so that our Nation can develop responsible, forward-thinking policies that ensure the continued safety and prosperity of the American people.
There will always be uncertainties and incomplete information in climate science. This is the nature of scientific discovery; it is constantly evolving, constantly gaining new insights and explanations of our natural world. National policy must be crafted based on what is known, but also must be able to incorporate the uncertainties of what is yet to be learned.
Our bill provides a foundation for future policy options. It instructs the Director of National Intelligence to conduct a National Intelligence Estimate to assess the potential geopolitical effects of global climate change and the implications for U.S. national security. It asks for a risk assessment of a broad array of impacts based on current scientific understanding. This bill is intended to gather information about the national security implications of projected climate change, so that in the future, Congress can develop policies that protect U.S. interests around the world.
I have said that the debate is not about whether we should take action, but rather what kind of action we should take. It would be irresponsible to attempt to develop a response to the physical effects of climate change without knowing what the potential consequences are. Our actions should always be based on a comprehensive base of scientific information and knowledge. Without this kind of information, we cannot effectively determine what the risks to U.S. national security will be. We cannot realistically design policies that mitigate these risks without this information. General Charles F. ``Chuck'' Wald, USAF, ret., former Deputy Commander, Headquarters U.S. European Command, has stated, ``This bipartisan legislation takes on an important emerging policy issue--the impact of climate change and national security. I support its call for a national intelligence estimate of the topic and authorizing the Secretary of Defense to conduct further research on the military impact of climate change.''
As I have said for many years, the way forward is to responsibly address the issue of climate change with a national strategy that incorporates economic, environmental and energy priorities. These issues are inextricably linked and changes to one will effect the other two. These priorities are also an integral part of U.S. national security. Risk assessment is essential to putting our national resources in the places where they will be most effective. This is even more important when assessing risk to national security. This legislation will provide information we need to continue to help make our country secure in the years to come.