Graham, Whitehouse: Global transition to renewables would help national security

Graham, Whitehouse: Global transition to renewables would help national security
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GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham, Cuellar press Biden to name border czar Trump takes two punches from GOP The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands MORE (S.C.) and Democratic Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseLobbying world Kavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Christine Blasey Ford's lawyers blast FBI's Kavanaugh investigation as 'sham' MORE (R.I.) argue in an op-ed published on Thursday that a global transition to renewable energy would be beneficial to the U.S.'s national security efforts.

In their piece published in Time, the senators, who both sit on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, say that transitioning to renewable energy sources would siphon off power from oil-rich countries and "Americans would instantly be safer."

"Oil and gas development has often been associated with autocracy and corruption," they wrote, pointing to countries such as Russia and Iran, whom the lawmakers characterize as the America's most dangerous enemies in their respective regions. According to the Graham and Whitehouse, the two countries have used fossil fuels to "threaten neighbors and fund terrorism."


Graham is one of the few Republicans in Congress who regularly acknowledges climate change, though he has questioned what role human activity has in causing it. He has previously endorsed the idea of a carbon tax to combat climate change.

Whitehouse has long been a staunch advocate for combating climate change. Earlier this month, the Rhode Island Democrat said he is concerned about the future of legislation on the topic, tweeting that "climate has fallen out of the infrastructure discussion," a characterization that the White House disputed at the time.

"Corruption, autocracy, and terrorism are a persistent threat to nations that stand on the rule of law, and America has long been the exemplar of the rule-of-law nation," the two wrote this week. "A world in which oil and gas money has less power is a world that will likely have less corruption, autocracy, and terror. That world will be a safer world for America."

Though their piece advocates for a global transition to renewable energy, the senators refrain from directly criticizing fossil fuel consumption in the U.S. or globally, focusing mainly on what they refer to as a “resource curse," that causes countries to fail at developing "healthy models of governance."

"Our point today is not about climate change. That has its own set of national security concerns. This is about who our friends are and who our foes are; and what the stabilizing and destabilizing forces in our world are," they said. "This is about where our foes, and the forces they employ like terror and corruption, get their resources. All too often, it’s from extractive industries like oil and gas."