The Leaflet: The Benefits of a Warming Planet
A new Heartland Institute Policy Brief debunks the myth that global warming threatens American economic production and national security.
A new Heartland Institute Policy Brief debunks the myth that global warming threatens American economic production and national security. In “Global Warming Energy Restrictions Threaten U.S. National Security,” Heartland Senior Fellow James Taylor, in collaboration with Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, argues global warming is actually a “threat reducer” and government attempts to combat climate change weaken the economy and military.
Climate change activists claim global warming is a “threat multiplier” that will exacerbate extreme weather conditions resulting in political and military conflicts that pose a risk to U.S. national security. However, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated the opposite in its Fifth Assessment Report, which concludes “research does not find a strong positive relationship between warming and armed conflict.” Taylor notes that even if extreme weather events were threat multipliers, data show these events are less frequent.
Moreover, a warming climate produces higher crop yields, increases global foliage and soil moisture, and results in fewer tornados. In fact, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the 2017–18 season produced record global cereal yields per acre.
Proposals to shut down or discourage the production and use of fossil fuel energy usually include carbon dioxide taxes, renewable energy mandates, and hydraulic fracturing bans. When implemented, these misguided policies result in higher prices for virtually all goods and services. Currently, wind and solar power are several times more expensive than oil, gas, and coal power. Indeed, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show states with renewable power mandates have energy rates substantially higher than the national average.
In fact, transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources would actually undermine America’s energy influence because the rare earth minerals necessary to produce renewables are mainly sourced from China. The United States is more energy independent than ever before. Therefore, this is not a politically or economically strategic time to transition to renewables. In the 2019 Annual Energy Outlook, EIA projects for the first time the United States will become a net fossil fuel exporter in 2020. Relying less on countries such as China, Russia, and Venezuela for energy bolsters America’s geopolitical interests and fortifies national security.
Taylor recommends elected officials take the following steps to enhance national security. “Policymakers should (1) encourage greater production of U.S. energy, (2) encourage optimal use of domestic energy resources in the economy, (3) support more U.S. energy exports, and (4) resist carbon dioxide restrictions.”
What We're Working On
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Budget & Tax
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From Our Free Market Friends
Exploring West Virginia’s Private Education Sector
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