RETIRED GENERALS, ADMIRALS: GLOBAL WARMING NEEDS A HARD LOOK
Today a blue-ribbon panel of retired senior military officials released a report that concluded global warming is a "threat multiplier" in many regions of the world and must be included in U.S. defense planning. Rep. Edward J. Markey, Chairman of the newly formed House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, will be introducing legislation that will authorize a long overdue official assessment of the military implications of global warming.
"Global warming's impacts on natural resources and climate systems may create the fiercest battle our world has ever seen," said Rep. Markey. "If we don't cut pollution and head off severe global warming at the pass, we could see extreme geopolitical strain over decreased clean water, environmental refugees, and other impacts."
The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlights where this strain could arise. They note that, among many other impacts, by 2020 up to 250 million Africans could thirst for clean water that can't be found, with more than a billion people in Southeast Asia facing the same fate by 2050.
Rep. Markey's bill is entitled "Global Climate Change Security Oversight Act," and would authorize a National Intelligence Assessment, which are the most authoritative intelligence judgments concerning national security issues. The legislation will also fund research by the Defense Department into the consequences for U.S. military operations posed by global warming.
To further enhance America's national security and reduce global warming pollution, Rep. Markey has also introduced the Markey-Platts bill. This legislation would raise fuel economy standards 4 percent per year, reaching 35 miles per gallon (mpg) fleet-wide average by 2018. The bill also calls for a subsequent increase to 40 mpg by 2022, which would save us the same amount of oil that America currently imports from the Persian Gulf.
Among the respected military officials authoring the report are: Marine Corps General Anthony C. Zinni, former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East; General. Gordon R. Sullivan, chairman of the Military Advisory Board and former Army chief of staff; and retired Admiral T. Joseph Lopez, former commander-in-chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and of Allied Forces, Southern Europe.
"These respected military officers want better national security, and they realize that means taking global warming seriously," said Rep. Markey. "President Bush and the Pentagon should heed the advice of these great soldiers and join the movement to cut global warming pollution."