Senator John Warner and Senator David Pryor Discuss Energy, Climate and the National Security Implications at Clinton School of Public Service
Today, former Senator John Warner (R-VA) and the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate hosted a forum to showcase how climate change and energy use impact Arkansas and threaten the country's national security. Featured speakers including former Senator David Pryor (D-AR), Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.), CNA Military Advisory Board Member and North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Hays discussed the critical links between climate change, protecting our national security, increasing our energy independence and preserving our nation's natural resources today at the Clinton School of Public Service.
“I spent 30 years in the U.S. Senate working on behalf of our men and women in uniform serving our country and on the issues related to the impact of climate changes on their future military roles and missions," said Senator John Warner. “Leading military and security experts agree that global warming could increase instability and lead to conflict in already fragile regions of the world. We ignore these facts at the peril of our national security and at great risk to those in uniform who serve this nation.”
Senator Warner served in the U.S. Navy during the final years of World War II, in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War and was the Secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974. Warner was the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and was the longest serving Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee. In 2006, he joined with Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) to co-sponsor the Climate Security Act, the only climate change bill passed by a Senate committee.
"Few individuals have the depth of knowledge and experience on the energy, national security and environmental challenges facing our country and the world as Senator Warner," said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's climate and energy program. "Forums like this will help engage our nation in an informed conversation on a clean energy future that makes America more secure."
Numerous expert reports have documented the security challenges that unchecked global climate change could cause. The Central Intelligence Agency's long-term forecasting arm, the National Intelligence Council, recently reported that global warming could directly impact the United States by threatening energy supplies, damaging military bases, increasing food and water shortages and stressing the economy. In February, the Defense Department's four-year strategic planning document, the Quadrennial Defense Review, for the first time officially recognized climate change as a serious national security threat. It declared “Climate change… may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.”
Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.), CNA Military Advisory Board Member commented, "As the dangers to America's security interest multiply, it is more important than ever that our military and the other instruments of national security have the flexibility to plan and respond. Restoring our nation's economic vitality is essential to ensuring that flexibility. A key to our economic recovery lies in addressing our energy needs in new and creative ways."
“Having worked alongside John Warner in the Senate for a number of years, I'm honored to stand beside him in Arkansas to discuss the increasing national security concerns as they relate to climate change,” said former Arkansas Senator David Pryor. “Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, implementing policies that help strengthen national security and produce clean energy domestically is good for the United States and will create new clean energy jobs for hard working Americans here in Arkansas and across the country.”