On Independence Day, 2009, America finds its economic future tied to the whims of unstable, and sometimes, hostile foreign powers who control our energy supply. Although we consume 25 percent of the world’s oil, we possess only three percent of the world’s reserves. In April alone, we imported 375 million barrels of oil, at a cost of $18.6 billion. This 4th of July, what better waóèÞÆÊØÊÄrate America’s birthday than to declare energy independence and seize control of our economic destiny? The Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, just passed by the House of Representatives, offers America an unprecedented path forward. In addition to weaning us off foreign oil, the bill will also create a flood of new jobs as we convert our economy to clean energy.
How? The Act will put a cap, or ceiling, on carbon pollution, the greenhouse gas that causes global warming, generating demand for cleaner energy sources and the jobs needed to make them. A single wind turbine, for example, contains 250 tons of steel and 8,000 parts, from ball bearings and electronic controls to gearboxes. Jobs manufacturing those parts can be created right here in America, especially in our Midwestern manufacturing heartland. If we do this right, we can export these technologies to China and the rest of the world.
Opponents of the Clean Energy and Security Act many of them so stuck in the past that they don’t even acknowledge the scientific reality of global warming are trying to bully consumers with the same old solution-free scare tactics. They warn of outrageous increases in energy costs based on distortions and discredited studies. Both the EPA and the Congressional budget office say that, under the Act, the average household will pay about 12 cents more a day the cost of brewing a pot of coffee. That’s nothing next to the costs of doing nothing, which would be beyond calculation.
Global climate change is a national security issue not only because of economic threats, but also because it would create a more unstable world. Scientists say that global climate change will lead to severe droughts, more intense storms, and shifting agricultural patterns all factors that can lead to economic upheaval and disruption, particularly in developing countries.
Climate change is what people who study national security call a “threat multiplier,” meaning it will intensify problems that already threaten us. We’ll see more crop failures, famine, and disease, leading to mass migrations of people across borders, and more frequent wars over natural resources like water. To make matters worse, much of this will happen in regions already on the brink. In volatile nations, governments will be more likely to fail, and extremism and terrorism could well fill the void.
In a recent report, eleven retired U.S. admirals and generals cited that growing instability from climate change is leading to greater U.S. military operations abroad. General Gordon Sullivan, former Chief of Staff of the United States Army, has said, “We have to act now (on global climate change) if we are to avoid the worst effects.” This Fourth of July, let’s have a vote on energy independence that would make our Founders proud. It’s up to the Senate now to pass pass the Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. And your voice matters. Senators can be found at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact – information/senators – cfm.cfm.

David Yarnold is executive director of the Environmental Defense Fund (www.edf.org). He can be reached at dyarnoldedf.org.
This essay is available to McClatchy-Tribune News Service subscribers. McClatchy-Tribune did not subsidize the writing of this column; the opinions are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of McClatchy-Tribune or its editors.

(c) 2009, Environmental Defense Fund
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
AP-NY-07-02-09 1400EDT

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