By Ramona du Houx

May 25, 2010 ·

The Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate hosted a public forum to showcase how climate change and our energy use impact Maine and threaten the country’s national security. A panel of political and military leaders discussed the critical links between climate change, protecting our national security, increasing our energy independence and preserving our nation’s natural resources.

“The Department of Defense is the largest user of energy in this country and is aggressively working to reduce their carbon bootprint because they know our national security is directly linked to our climate security,” said Phyllis Cuttino, who directs the Pew Environment Group’s Climate and Energy Programs. “Forums like this will help engage our nation in an informed conversation on a clean energy future that makes America more secure.”

Numerous expert reports have documented the security challenges that unchecked global climate change could cause. The Central Intelligence Agency’s long-term forecasting arm, the National Intelligence Council, recently reported that global warming could directly impact the United States by threatening energy supplies, damaging military bases, increasing food and water shortages and stressing the economy.

“There are serious risks to doing nothing about climate change,” said Admiral John B. Nathman, USN (Ret.), CNA Military Advisory Board Member. “We can pay now or we’re going to pay a whole lot later. The U.S. has a unique opportunity to become energy independent, protect our national security and boost our economy while reducing our carbon footprint. We’ve been a model of success for the rest of the world in the past and now we must lead the way on climate change.”