The United States must be a leader in energy innovations, because failing in this field could cause "considerable risk" to national security, a group of 15 retired generals and admirals warned in a CNA Military Advisory Board report released on Tuesday.
The group has been working on the report for several years, but its release comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's decision last week to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, which many have warned harms American leadership and national security.
In an interview with The Hill, however, three of the report's authors did not want to compare the report's conclusions to those arguing against withdrawing from the accord.
"We started this report before Paris occurred," retired Capt. Leo Goff said. "It looks at trends over the last 15 years, and our projections are for a decade or two to three. We think this transcends Paris and administrations and is really for a longer view."
The report does warn, however, that the United States has not become a leader in "advanced energy," which it defines as nuclear, hydro, renewable or alternative power, and has in fact fallen behind China and the European Union, which makes it more difficult for the U.S. to maintain its competitive advantage.
"Ceding U.S. leadership here has inherent national security risk, including loss of global influence and diplomatic leverage, as well as forgone economic opportunities," according to the report.
The Washington Examiner emphasized that Trump's pro-fossil fuel policies should be a "bridge" to cleaner, more advanced energy technologies in order to meet future energy demand.
The report urges the Trump administration to view the nation's massive oil, natural gas and coal resources as not an end in themselves, but as a starting point toward achieving the next generation of energy technologies.
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