Enhancing our national security by reducing oil dependence and environmental damage

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"Enhancing our national security by reducing oil dependence and environmental damage"

The United States has an historic opportunity to enhance its national security by reducing its dependence on oil. Policies to accomplish this goal, including more efficient fuel economy standards, investments in hybrid and electric vehicles, development of natural gas-fueled heavy duty vehicles, and production of advanced biofuels would also create jobs and reduce global warming pollution.  This piece, by CAP’s Christopher Beddor, Winny Chen, Rudy deLeon, Shiyong Park, and Daniel J. Weiss, was first posted here.  It summarizes the findings of their 21-page report (pdf).

On June 26 the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, or ACESA. The bill would cap greenhouse gas emissions, boost investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy such as wind and solar, and jumpstart the transition to a clean-energy economy. These new investments in clean-energy technologies would slash global warming pollution and reduce foreign oil use while creating jobs and increasing our economic competitiveness with China and other nations.

But in the lead up to the ACESA vote and in the weeks since House passage, conservative opponents of clean, domestic energy have wildly misrepresented the bill’s content and cost, while resorting to scare tactics and half-truths in service of the status quo. On the contrary, America’s reliance on imported fossil fuels instead of clean, domestic sources of energy has long been costly to our economy, our environment, and our national security”” and will become even more so if we fail to act now.

America’s dependence on foreign oil transfers U.S. dollars to a number of unfriendly regimes, while robbing the United States of the economic resources it desperately needs for domestic development and American innovation. American petrodollars fund regimes and economic investments that do not serve U.S. interests. And our enormous appetite for oil””America burns a full quarter of the world’s oil””feeds the global demand that finances and sustains corrupt and undemocratic regimes around the globe. The perilous implications of this arrangement””increasing power and influence of oil exporters, many of whom comprise the world’s worst regimes””will become more explicit if global demand increases as some current forecasts predict.

What’s more, the United States will increasingly turn to exporting countries that have opposing interests as oil production in friendly nations becomes depleted or less viable. Ultimately, the United States will become more invested in the volatile Middle East, more dependent on corrupt and unsavory regimes, and more involved with politically unstable countries. In fact, it may be forced to choose between maintaining an effective foreign policy or a consistent energy supply as U.S. consumers face higher energy prices.

The good news is that the United States has an historic opportunity to enhance its national security by reducing its dependence on oil. Policies to accomplish this goal, including more efficient fuel economy standards, investments in hybrid and electric vehicles, development of natural gas-fueled heavy duty vehicles, and production of advanced biofuels would also create jobs and reduce global warming pollution. A transformation from oil to no- and low-carbon energy sources will catalyze innovation that creates new technologies that the United States can market to other nations, leading to long-term economic growth and prosperity as well as enhanced security.

This fall the Senate has a historic opportunity to reduce U.S. oil consumption as part of its debate on comprehensive clean-energy jobs and global warming pollution reduction legislation.

Download the full report (pdf)

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4 Responses to Enhancing our national security by reducing oil dependence and environmental damage

  1. This report highlights the critical connection between global warming solutions, national security, and foreign policy. It also proposes some urgently needed policy measures that will help to reduce our reliance on oil.

    However, with all due respect to the authors, it misses a major policy area in need of significant reform – surface transportation policy.

    The report notes that transportation – mostly cars and trucks – are responsible for the majority of oil use. More efficient vehicles and lower carbon fuels are a big part of the solution. But if we do not address the rapidly increasing the US driving rate, the benefits from these policies will largely be undermined.

    A major report by leading transportation analysts, Moving Cooler (www.MovingCooler.info), found that reforming US transportation policy can contribute to significant GHG reductions and oil savings. Specifically, coordinated, multi-strategy transportation efficiency policies could cut annual GHG emission reductions up to 24% in 2050, saving up to 660 million barrels or oil each year. These strategies also would save consumers billions at the pump.

    I hope that future CAP reports on oil reduction and global warming expand to examine these critical policies. Doing so would help to make a good report even better!

  2. Michelangelo says:

    I think this is a great idea — But the fact is that China is doing it better (and with domestic manufacturing there are always complaints: http://bit.ly/3vzvkn), investing more (apparently 1.2 million/day now in renewables) — So my question (and that of many others) is: Will we buy our turbines, clean energy cars, etc. from China if it is cheaper?? Is there any room in this policy to prevent that trade, and is that prevention even a good idea?? I question this whole “energy sovereignty”, as the term is “global” warming not “American” warming…

  3. paulm says:

    This one really confuses the GOP and deniers. They can’t handle this angle.

  4. Jeff Huggins says:

    Where IS ExxonMobil?

    According to a very simple analysis of numbers in its 2008 report . . .

    About 85% of ExxonMobil’s oil and gas production comes from outside the U.S. That means that a lot of $$$$ are going outside the U.S.

    About 80% of ExxonMobil’s capital expenditures were outside the U.S. More money gone.

    About 75% of ExxonMobil’s total capital employed is outside the U.S. That means they have THREE TIMES AS MUCH employed outside the U.S. as within the U.S.

    Roughly 79% of capital and exploration expenditures were outside the U.S.

    All things considered, although I haven’t done this particular detailed calculation, it’s pretty likely that ExxonMobil is one of the — and perhaps THE — largest corporate vehicles for taking your money and sending it overseas.

    That’s just the START of the story.

    Cheers,

    Jeff