The mainstream media reported Sunday and Monday that President Donald Trump’s new National Security Strategy (NSS) would remove climate change from a list of threats to national security.
But the document, released Monday, does more than that. It identifies efforts to push a climate change agenda as a potential threat to national security.
The NSS states (emphasis added):
Climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system. U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests. Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty. The United States will continue to advance an approach that balances energy security, economic development, and environmental protection. The United States will remain a global leader in reducing traditional pollution, as well as greenhouse gases, while expanding our economy. This achievement, which can serve as a model to other countries, flows from innovation, technology breakthroughs, and energy efficiency gains, not from onerous regulation.
Note that the NSS does not take a position on the scientific debate about whether climate change is happening, what its causes are, and what can be done about it. Rather, it simply notes that some of the efforts to stop climate change are harmful to the United States.
The implication is that shutting down key energy sources, such as coal and oil, reduces American economic growth while also leaving the U.S. vulnerable to disruptions in energy supply.
As a remedy, the NSS proposes a balanced approach — “energy security, economic development, and environmental protection,” in that order. It does not reject doing what may be necessary to protect the planet, or to mitigate impacts that may arise from a changing climate. But it insists that those measures must not be at the expense of America’s national security or economic health.
So the NSS does more than drop the Obama administration’s attempt to graft environmentalism onto national defense. It suggests that radical environmentalism is actually a national security threat. In that sense, Trump’s new policy is even more audacious than his critics suggest.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.