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Posts Tagged ‘national security’

You would think that the Veterans of the United States would be mostly outspoken about traditional war issues, such as pulling the troops out of Iraq or sending more of them to Afghanistan, but a few groups of veterans have decided to take a different route. Operation Free is the name of a veterans’ movement that has been touring the country to advocate about climate change and to support the passage of the climate change legislation currently being debated in Congress. They consider climate change a “national security threat” (consider that Homeland Security) and their mission is to “Secure America with Clean Energy.”

Here is a video of the group visiting Washington D.C.

Besides the organization’s concerns about the security of our food, health, and water, they tie a very interesting view on climate change to terrorism. Since climate change makes certain areas of the world inhabitable, the devastated people of such areas will be more prone to be involved with terrorist groups.

“Shifts in climates will result in shifts in populations as certain areas become more and more inhabitable. The bulk of these refugees will be sequestered away in squalid, wretched camps and largely denied education, medical care, and access to the opportunity of the outside world. This environment is for terrorists like a pool of stagnant water is for mosquitoes: a breeding ground.” – Drew Sloan Former Army Captain, Infantry OEF/OIF Veteran

"Terrorism 101" - Operation Free

Patrick Bellon, Western Regional Director of another veteran’s organization called VoteVets, told Public Citizen that when the public sees veterans advocating for such an issue it gives it more credibility, “But they are often surprised and curious to see veterans talking about it,” he added. Bellon thinks that the majority of people still can’t fully comprehend the threat of climate change, “when people hear that there will be three degree change in temperature, they don’t understand the impact of that.”

You can visit the VoteVets blog by clicking here

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As we’ve said before, there are a lot of good reasons to support a federal cap and trade bill: it would address the looming threat of global warming, create thousands of new green jobs while kick-starting a the clean energy economy, increase national security by achieving energy independence, and done right could even address long-entrenched social inequalities.

But according to a new ad campaign run by Texas Interfaith Power and Light, a vote for clean energy can also be considered “an act of faith.”

The word, according to their press release:

State religious leaders are calling on U.S. Congressman Charles Gonzalez to show leadership on clean energy legislation that Congress is set to mark up starting Thursday. With calls to Congressman Gonzalez and a San Antonio Express-News ad in his district, Texas Interfaith Power & Light is voicing the faith perspective people of faith bring to the debate over the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.

“Texans of faith know that the care for creation and loving our neighbors go hand in hand,” the ad says, asking Congressman Gonzalez to take action on the volatile fuel prices, pollution and global warming that harm “the most vulnerable among us, particularly the poor, the elderly, minorities, and the farmers who provide food for our families.”

Kudos to Texas Interfaith Power and Light for stepping up to the plate.  The greater the diversity of voices weighing in on this issue the more politicians will see that a climate change bill has far-reaching support across the population, and that there will be significant political consequences to inaction.

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Phillip Martin at Burnt Orange Report reports that VoteVets.org is running a telelvision ad in San Antonio urging Congressman Charlie Gonzalez to support the American Clean Energy and Security Act (aka the Waxman & Markey bill, the federal cap and trade bill, or, as Trevor over at ReEnergize Texas has taken to calling it, the Bill That May or May Not Save the World — take your pick).

As you may recall, we’ve been pushing on US Congressman Gonzalez lately to support a strong climate change bill ever since we heard he might want to go over to the dark side and  give away free carbon credits to utilities.  Two weekends ago we hit him up at the King William’s Fair in San Antonio to make sure he heard the message loud and clear: No Giveaways for Polluters.

Giving away allowances would force customers to pay for industry and utilities’ right to pollute without even cutting carbon emissions.  This is exactly what went wrong with the European Union’s cap and trade experiment.  They gave away carbon credits, so that industries had a free ticket to pollute — but then industry turned around to consumers, raised rates because they could pretend they had “compliance costs” to cover, and working families had to foot the bill while energy companies made windfall profits.

But according to a new EPA analysis of the Bill That May or May Not Save the World, making polluters pay would actually leave families better off than before:

Assuming that the bulk of the revenues from the program are returned to households, the cap-and-trade policy has a relatively modest impact on U.S. consumers. . . . Returning the revenues in this fashion could make the median household, and those living at lower ends of the income distribution, better off than they would be without the program.

This new VoteVets ad explains how tackling climate change and moving toward clean energy is also a national security matter.  Phil posted the following quote from Patrick Bellon, an Iraq War Veteran from Texas that speaks in the ad,

Getting America less dependent on foreign oil and towards clean energy is a national security matter,” said Bellon, who also is a member of VoteVets.org. “Congressman Gonzalez has a chance to vote for a comprehensive clean energy jobs bill that would lessen those Middle East oil profits that help fund terrorism, and would create jobs right here. As someone who’s fought against insurgents in Iraq, this bill is a no brainer, and we’re hoping the Congressman feels the same way.

Check it out for yourself:

Word is that the ad will run over 600 times in the San Antonio market, and a similar ad is running in Congressman Gene Green’s district.  Many thanks to Phil at BOR for bringing this to our attention :)

It really warms my heart that VoteVets has joined in this fight, adding another crucial voice to the cap and trade choir.  Done right, this bill could reduce our emissions such that the US can steer clear of runaway global warming, jump-start a new clean energy economy and set the standard for strong climate legislation at Copenhagen in December.

There are a lot of good reasons to support this bill, and only two real voices that oppose it: those that don’t believe global warming is real, and the monied interests that benefit from the status quo.  Looking at what we and future generations stand to lose, neither represents a legitimate argument.

On a related note, San Antonio folks have another opportunity this afternoon to show Charlie their support for a strong climate change bill at a MoveOn.org rally.  Details after the jump. (more…)

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