From the New York Times:
The U.S. needs a climate bill that forces technological change.
Every two years, like clockwork, Congress seems to pass an energy bill, each one marginally better than the one before. What this country does not need in 2009 is another energy bill, even a better one. What it needs is a climate bill, one committed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in a way that engages the whole economy and forces major technological change.
Without such a bill, America will lose the race against time on climate, lose the race for markets for new and cleaner energy systems, and forfeit any claim to world leadership in advance of the next round of global climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December.The bill approved by the House last month is a start. It calls for greater efficiency and alternative energy sources. But at its heart is a provision that would cut greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by midcentury. It would do so by imposing a steadily declining ceiling on emissions — raising the cost of dirtier fuels while steering investments to cleaner ones.
Also from the Times:
Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security
WASHINGTON — The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say.
Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change.
Recent war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response.
An exercise last December at the National Defense University, an educational institute that is overseen by the military, explored the potential impact of a destructive flood in Bangladesh that sent hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming into neighboring India, touching off religious conflict, the spread of contagious diseases and vast damage to infrastructure. “It gets real complicated real quickly,” said Amanda J. Dory, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, who is working with a Pentagon group assigned to incorporate climate change into national security strategy planning.
Much of the public and political debate on global warming has focused on finding substitutes for fossil fuels, reducing emissions that contribute to greenhouse gases and furthering negotiations toward an international climate treaty — not potential security challenges.But a growing number of policy makers say that the world’s rising temperatures, surging seas and melting glaciers are a direct threat to the national interest.