Proponents of global warming legislation or an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions argue that climate change could affect the safety, not only in the United States, but in other countries as more natural disasters will lead to increased global conflict. But the claim that warming causes increased tension and causes wars is misleading according to recent testimony from Heritage analyst James Carafano:
The global climate has always been changing. Adapting to these changes and human efforts to manage their surrounding environment is a permanent feature of human competition. The environment does not cause wars–it is how humans respond to their environment that causes conflicts.
Climate change does not necessarily ensure that there will be more or less conflict. For example, as the Arctic ice melts and the environment becomes more benign, Arctic waters will become more available for fishing, mineral and energy exploitation, and maritime transport. Nations will compete over these resources, but it is how they choose to compete–not the change in the weather–that will determine whether war breaks out.
Furthermore, any changes in the climate, for better or for worse, will occur gradually over decades. Thus, there will be ample time to adjust national security and humanitarian assistance instruments to accommodate future demands. Those adjustments can and should be made with the most appropriate instruments, which might comprise any or all of the elements of national power including diplomatic, economic, political, and informational tools as well as the armed forces.”
Cap and trade bills and climate treaties will do much more economic harm than environmental good and would limit the resources available to effectively prepare and respond to natural disasters or national security threats. The truth is the climate has been changing on its own for centuries and more scientific dissent exists disputing how much warming is human-induced or even caused by carbon dioxide. The Heritage Foundation estimates that between 2012 and 2035, $9.4 trillion in gross domestic product would be lost because of cap and trade. It would reduce our resources not only to cope with natural disasters but also our military preparedness and overall economic well-being. As energy prices soar, production will decrease, resources will become scarcer and innovation and entrepreneurial activity will fall, and innovation and entrepreneurial activity are the two things that will help to effectively adapt to climate change, if necessary.
Carafano’s full testimony is available here.