By Pete Altman
Senator Lindsey Graham has often said that he views passing a climate bill as essential to protecting US national security, because without a price on carbon there is no way to move the US toward energy independence.
With reports of a new US military report projecting global oil shortages as soon as 2015, Graham’s efforts to craft a climate and energy bill with Senators Kerry and Lieberman just got a lot more urgent.
News outlets reported over the weekend that the US Joint Forces Command has issued a report warning that
By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day," says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N Mattis.
Economic and political chaos is one possible outcome of global oil shortages, the report warns.
While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds . . . One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest.
Protecting ourselves against the economic and political fallout of global oil shortages is one good reason to cut our reliance on oil. Cutting off funds to terrorists is another.
Yesterday my colleague Dan Lashof wrote about a WonkRoom post noting that a comprehensive climate and energy bill would help cut Iran’s oil revenues by $1.8 trillion over the next forty years. That’s $100 million a day that Iran wouldn’t be able to spend on terrorism, or on IEDs that kill our troops, or on its nuclear programs.
And it is worth pointing out that according to several independent estimates, a climate bill will cost Americans about as much as a postage stamp per day. Hey you know what? Fifty-cents is a pretty small investment to protect global prosperity and peace.