In the past year, the significant security risks of a continued dependence on fossil fuels have been exemplified by two developments: first was the attempt by Vladimir Putin to hold Europe hostage to its reliance on Russian oil and gas in the wake of his brutal invasion of Ukraine. Second, was the unprecedented pace and intensity of military deployments in response to climate hazards across the globe – from wildfires in Europe and the United States, to flooding in Pakistan and Nigeria, to drought in China and Mexico. It has never been more clear that the world must speed its transition to clean energy to secure its future.
This is why the Center for Climate and Security, an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks, has launched the “National Security Voices for Clean Energy” campaign. This campaign features senior former US military, intelligence and national security leaders sharing their perspectives on why moving away from fossil fuels is a national security and geopolitical imperative for the United States.These videos spotlight candid messages that span topics from cutting emissions to strengthening America’s energy resilience.
Erin Sikorsky, a former senior U.S. intelligence official, demonstrates how a reliance on fossil fuels weakens the United State’s ability to counter threats from Russia, citing examples of extremist groups in Syria and Iraq who similarly use climate hazards to take advantage of vulnerable populations in their countries.
General (USAF, Ret.) Ronald Keys breaks down why the Department of Defense cares about climate security, emphasizing the importance of establishing a resilient energy structure in the United States that can withstand climate disasters.
The Honorable John Conger, former Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), underscores the multitude of security threats brought upon by climate change in the 21st century – from wildfires to sea level rise – that impact US troops around the world, threatening lives and straining resources.
Lyston Lea, former senior U.S. defense intelligence official, highlights how a dependence on fossil fuels leaves the United States vulnerable to economic warfare as demonstrated by Russia’s energy blackmail during its invasion of Ukraine. He notes that a transition to clean energy will strengthen America’s ability to withstand threats from Russia and continue to compete with China.
The Honorable Sherri Goodman, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security), underscores how the move to clean energy will increase military effectiveness. Drawing on examples from Iraq and Afghanistan, she recalls lessons learned from an overreliance on fossil fuels on the frontlines.
Read more in the op-ed on The Hill.