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DHS: Fossil Fuels and Climate Change are ‘National Threats’

Muddled thinking from the Department of Homeland Security

On February 1, Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security released a 108-page report to Congress, the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report. Subtitled “A Strategic Framework for a Secure Homeland”, a quick glance at the report left me questioning whether the DHS is more serious about Homeland Security than they are about advancing Obama Administration policy goals.

The following item is in a bullet list of threats to America’s national interests (p. 7):

Dependence on fossil fuels and the threat of global climate change that can open the United States to disruptions and manipulations in energy supplies and to changes in our natural environment on an unprecedented scale. Climate change is expected to increase the severity and frequency of weather-related hazards, which could, in turn, result in social and political destabilization, international conflict, or mass migrations.

If there’s a Smithsonian exhibit on Muddled Thinking and Bureaucratic Gobbledegook, that paragraph belongs in it.

“Dependence on fossil fuels … can open the United States to disruptions and manipulations in energy supplies…” Ms. Napolitano, it is not our dependence on fossil fuels that is the problem, it is our dependence on foreign sources of crude oil and the Administration’s determination to exacerbate the problem by limiting domestic access and punishing small domestic producers. While America probably will never be self-sufficient in energy, we could be a lot less dependent of foreign sources of crude if we 1) explored more domestically, and 2) relied more on natural gas.

If, as you say, disruptions and manipulation of crude oil supply threaten our national interest, then it’s time to start doing something about that threat. Even under the most optimistic assumptions for growth of wind and solar energy, we’ll be using more oil, gas and coal thirty years from now than we use today.

Then there’s Climate Change. No need here to belabor the myriad scandals, conflicts of interest and lapses of judgment that have plagued the Climate Change community of late.

“Climate change is expected to increase the severity and frequency of weather-related hazards…”

We’ve all become conditioned to this blather to the point where we hardly notice. We have, after all, experienced a “hockey stick”, haven’t we, along with an increasing trend in hurricanes and tornadoes?

Hmmm. Not much of a trend there. This graph just considers landfalling hurricanes. Maybe if we look at total hurricanes, landfalling or not, in more detail:

This graph doesn’t include 2009 (which I blogged about here), a rather puny year for storms, even counting a late November storm and an extratropical storm in the North Atlantic that really shouldn’t have counted in the statistics.

OK, there must be a trend in tornadoes:

Hmmm, again. There’s a trend, alright, but it seems like it’s going the wrong way.

Ms. Napolitano, it seems as though your party has a bad habit of taking a government agency with a worthwhile goal (in this case, the critical goal of Homeland Security), and confusing the mission with a mishmash of other incidental policy issues and distractions.

  • Our use of fossil fuels does not threaten our security.

  • There is no evidence of an increasing trend in the number or severity of storms.

  • ManBearPig is not going to kill us all in our beds.

Now, please get back to the serious business of securing our borders and keeping out the bad guys who would do our country real harm.

Cross-posted at VladEnBlog.

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