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Environment

Reality Bites

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorApril 12, 2010 1:25 AM

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Experts who are grappling honestly with the national security/climate change nexus will wince when they see this post by the Wonk Room's Brad Johnson. It's the kind of blatant political exploitation of recent headlines that some scholars warned about when the climate security meme was picked up prominently by mainstream media last summer. Johnson, doing his best impersonation of a mid-2000s Thomas Friedman op-ed column, makes this argument:

If the world moves away from oil dependence, Iran's regime will no longer be able to rely on petrodollars to stay afloat. Other unfriendly regimes propped up by carbon-fuel money, such as Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, will also feel the pinch, improving our national security and making it less likely our armed services will fight battles amid the oil fields. For that to happen, the United States must pass comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation as fast as possible, the stronger the better.

If the world moves away from oil dependence. Brad, are you living in a CAP bubble? When you look at these projections, do you see that happening anytime soon? (By the way, those forecasts might be underestimated a wee bit.) And what about China's trajectory? And its willingness to do business with bad actors to meet its voracious energy needs? If Iran's nuclear ambitions are to be reigned in before they cause serious international trouble, it won't be because of a carbon cap (which hardly seems around the corner), it'll be because China will not want to upend the deepening energy relationship it has developed with Iran.

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