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Letter shows bipartisan agreement on climate change

U.S. must help address global warming risks in vulnerable nations

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By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Debate about climate change has often been framed in a partisan context, at least in the U.S., but a recent statment by a nonpartisan security think tank points at finding common ground around the issue based on national security concerns.

A recent open letter from the Partnership for a Secure America starkly outlines the national security threats of climate change, stressing  the urgent need for action to prevent disastrous impacts on U.S. interests. Mobilizing public and private support for international mitigation and adaptation projects in vulnerable communities must be a priority, according to the letter.

The group’s members are hardly wild-eyed environmental radicals; Instead, the letter was signed by seventeen former Senators and Congress members, nine retired generals and admirals, both the Chair and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission, and Cabinet and Cabinet-level officials from the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and both Bush administrations. Continue reading

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CIA-funded Harvard study outlines climate change threats

‘We are not prepared’

SUMMIT COUNTY — A new Harvard report finds that the early ramifications of climate extremes resulting from climate change are already a reality and will continue to be felt over the next decade, directly impacting U.S. national security interests.

“Lessons from the past are no longer of great value as a guide to the future,” said co-lead author Michael McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at Harvard University. “Unexpected changes in regional weather are likely to define the new climate normal, and we are not prepared.”

Changes in extremes include more record high temperatures; fewer but stronger tropical cyclones; wider areas of drought and increases in precipitation; increased climate variability; Arctic warming and attendant impacts; and continued sea level rise as greenhouse warming continues and even accelerates. Continue reading

Senators want more info on U.S. counter-terrorism policies

Policies that allow lethal targeting of U.S. citizens at issue during confirmation hearings

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A Justice Department white paper outlines legal rationale for use of deadly force against U.S. citizens.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Colorado Democrat Mark Udall, said this week they want more information on U.S. policies that permit the government to kill American citizens during counter-terrorism operations.

Udall joined Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) in asking President Obama for details of the secret legal opinions that enable the president to target Americans if, for example, they are working as operatives for Al Qa’ida.

In their Feb. 4 letter, the senators likened the situation to the Civil War, when President Lincoln had authority to order Union troops to fire on Confederate forces. They acknowledged that, if Americans choose to take up arms against their own country, that there is a justification for targeting them with deadly force. Continue reading

Udall helps block new military detention powers

Civil liberties versus anti-terror powers

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Sen. Mark Udall once again was a stalwart advocate for civil liberties this week as the U.S. Senate voted for an unprecedented expansion of military police power as part of the National Defense Authorization Act — all in the name of fighting terror.

According to military officials and national security experts some of the provisions included in the spending bill would give the military the power to indefinitely detain accused enemy combatants — including Americans captured on U.S. soil. You can watch Sen. Udall speak at the hearing here.

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