Full Title: A US Strategy for Sustainable Energy Security
Author(s): David Kolanyi
Publisher(s): The Atlantic Council
Publication Date: 03/2016
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The national energy system of the United States is aging and has to be renewed in a dynamic fashion to adapt to the transformative changes in the world of energy. Failure to do so will result in substantial economic disadvantage and national security vulnerabilities, and risk the United States’ position as the leading global power in the twenty first century. The need for modernization represents a unique opportunity to upgrade the United States to a cutting edge system of energy hardware and software.
Moreover, climate change is a severe threat to the United States and an existential one to much of the rest of humanity. Climate change represents an ever growing, direct risk to the American people as extreme weather events wreak havoc, rising sea levels engulf coastal cities, and natural beauties and wildlife habitats degrade. The impact of climate change on other countries’ economic, political, and security postures will have major repercussions on US national security and economic prosperity. The United States cannot isolate itself from political and social instability, mass migration, conflict over resources, poverty, and health epidemics that excessive climate change would induce and future generations will have to endure. Taking resolute action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a form of ‘insurance’ against the most severe and irreversible potential consequences of climate change. The longer action is postponed, the greater the risks and the higher the costs would be.
In today’s interconnected world, responding to the growing energy needs of the developing world amidst a changing climate is critical to the United States’ national security and economic prosperity. Mankind has within its grasp the wherewithal to engineer a global energy revolution. The international community took an important step towards action in Paris in December 2015. Yet the task at hand—the transformation of the entire energy value chain across the globe—is colossal, and will require political will, technological ingenuity, business acumen, and international cooperation on a whole new level.