In response to Russia’s brazen invasion of Ukraine, two dozen governors, including Gov. Spencer Cox, have called for more fossil fuel extraction to support “energy independence.” While we need to support our own and our allies’ short-term energy needs, it would be a catastrophic mistake to double down on the dirty energy sources that empower our enemies and increase the risk of future conflicts driven by climate change. Climate change is already worsening droughts and other disasters that can destabilize other regions like the Middle East, South Asia and Central America. Indeed, the Department of Defense considers the changing climate a “threat multiplier.”

Climate change will also worsen inflation by disrupting supply chains, as commodities like lumber and staple crops become harder to produce as sea levels rise, rainfall patterns shift and droughts intensify. A wiser approach is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by scaling up clean energy and electric vehicles, promoting energy conservation and building more sustainable cities. This approach will deny foreign powers’ leverage over the world energy system and prevent the most destabilizing impacts of climate change.

The current crisis highlights the urgent need for a sustainable strategy to create real energy independence, reduce inflation and ensure our national security. 

Anders Hart

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Salt Lake City

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