The EIA has just released its forecast for global carbon emissions through the year 2030 and it's not pretty. Without meaningful efforts to reduce the path of our carbon emissions, global carbon dioxide pollution is expected to increase 39% over the next two decades. Basically enough of an increase in CO2 emissions to lock us into a 2 degree Celsius rise in surface temperatures by the year 2035.*
It is in this context that security takes on multiple meanings under the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). If temperatures rise above 2 degrees Celsius, the US will not only be faced with issues of energy security (driven by large increases in consumption forecast for developing countries), it will be faced with issues of military and economic security as well.
From slowing global agricultural output to conflicts over scarce water resources to an increase in the number of "failed" states around the world, climate change carries significant economic and military risks. Risks that should be included as direct costs of inaction under business as usual assumptions or as avoided costs under climate legislation.
The pop art image below summarizes many of the economic, social, and political risks highlighted by the IPCC, Stern Review, NASA and others under the EIA's carbon output forecasts. While these modeling results may under or over estimate the actual risks we face from climate change, their conclusions pose enough of a risk to our business as usual assumptions to warrant some form of an insurance policy. Climate legislation offers us that insurance policy, and the sooner we sign up the better.
* Page 220 in The Economics of Climate Change- The Stern Review