ENERGY SECURITY

noun [en-er-jee si-kyoor-i-tee]
  1. freedom from our nation's dependency on fossil fuels and vulnerable energy networks

ENERGY DEPENDENCY


America's national security depends on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, preparing for the global impacts of climate change, reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels (especially oil and gas), and increasing low-carbon sources of energy within the United States.

Currently, the United States is dangerously energy-dependent. Our nation represents only 4.6% of the world population, yet we use 25% of the world's oil. We hold less than 3% of the world's oil reserves, which means that we currently import over 60% of our oil and gas from other countries - many of which are controlled by unstable or undemocratic governments.

Imported energy increases the risk of terrorism. More than 60% of oil and gas reserves lie in conflict-ridden areas of the Middle East and Central Asia. Terrorist networks and hostile regimes often benefit from the selling of these resources.

ENERGY SCARCITY


Fossil fuels are limited natural resources, and oil and gas will soon become much more difficult to obtain. Many argue that global petroleum production and the supply of comparatively cheap, available oil will soon peak, and then decline. Some believe this has happened already.

After the turning point of peak oil, remaining reserves will be difficult to reach and expensive to extract. The result will be heavier oils that are harder to process. Costs of oil production, transportation, and the securing of these networks are all expected to increase.

Petroleum products (petrochemicals), such as plastics, agricultural chemicals, and medical technologies, will also be impacted by oil scarcity.

As fossil fuels become more limited, we can expect a growing number of foreign policy confrontations - such as the debates over Artic exploration - as countries like Russia, Canada, and the United States fight to lay claim to oil reserves revealed by the rapidly melting ice sheets. Control over resulting shipping lanes and new international transit routes that could threaten our national security will become an issue as well.

VULNERABLE NETWORKS


Much of the United States energy infrastructure is aging and vulnerable to disruption by extreme weather or terrorist attacks. The U.S. is dependent on electricity transmitted through the national grid, as well as pipelines that carry liquid fuel. Many coal-burning power plants must import their coal supplied over hundreds of miles of railroad tracks.