In response to Heritage analyst James Carafano’s paper, “National Security Not a Good Argument for Global Warming Legislation”, the American Security Project responded to four “myths” in Carafano’s piece.

But their retaliatory facts ignore Carafano’s central premise that the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill will do much more economic harm than environmental good and would undermine “the nation’s capacity to deal with natural disasters here and abroad.” The truth is the climate has been changing on its own for centuries and wide scientific dissent exists disputing how much warming is human-induced or even caused by carbon dioxide. In any event, climatologist Chip Knappenberger modeled the climate effects of the Waxman-Markey climate legislation and found the regulations would only lower temperatures by only hundredths of a degree Celsius in 2050 and no more than two-tenths of a degree Celsius at the end of the century.

Let’s take a look at ASP’s critiques:

1.)ASP argues Carafano’s notion that we should allow “nations to adapt to the national security challenges implied by long-term global climate changes” is misguided: “While Carafano would rather wait and see what catastrophic repercussions transpire from climate change, the truth is that these harmful changes are not far off and have already started to take place.” They further argue that a radically changing climate would put U.S. military facilities at risk.

But the Waxman-Markey does little to address climate change and a lot to cripple economic competitiveness. The policy most often suggested is a cap-and-trade bill to reduce carbon dioxide. Although the benefits in terms of global temperature decreases would be negligible, the costs would be astronomical. Carafano is right to argue that a “collapse in U.S. economic growth would result in even more draconian cuts to the defense budget, leaving America with a military much less prepared to deal with future threats.”

2.) Next ASP attacks Carafano’s assertion that “Catastrophic predictions…are poorly supported by the evidence.” They say: “History is filled with examples of climate induced conflicts and humanitarian disasters, and climate change has already contributed to conflicts in regions like Darfur where droughts reduced water levels in Lake Chad by 90 percent. This lack of water has helped to spark the deadly conflict between Sudan and Chad which has cost almost half a million lives. Conflicts like this will become more common as climate change increases competition for dwindling resources. Carafano suggests that advocates use alarmist scenarios to push their agenda, but the truth is that even conservative estimates of climate change – as highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – will have major impacts.”

First, catastrophic predictions are poorly supported by evidence and often greatly exaggerated by the likes of Al Gore. In fact, Senior Policy Analyst Ben Lieberman writes, “ The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which Gore considers to be the gold standard of consensus science, projects an increase of 7 to 23 inches over the next century. The lower end of that range is about what has occurred — without serious consequences — over the last two centuries.”

Moreover, natural disasters are just that: natural. The reality is adaptation to climate change is prudent; but changing the weather like cap and trade attempts to do is impossible without reverting back to living standards comparable to the Stone Age. Take hurricanes, for example. Changing the weather to prevent hurricanes is currently impossible, but adapting to hurricanes is not. States and cities have shown this by better preparing for hurricanes—building better levees, rebuilding sand dunes and upgrading building codes to withstand damage. In response to Katrina, the US Army Corps of Engineers installed sheet pilings as emergency closures in order to prevent water from entering the canals and re-flooding the city. Furthermore, the engineers took measures to raise and armor portions of area’s levees for better protection and worked with Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force to better understand hurricane movements.

(More on this in part II)