Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What is the greatest national security threat to the United States?

What is the greatest national security threat to the United States?

On the evening of October 13, 2015, CNN organized the first Debate among Democrat Party 2016 Presidential candidates in the LasVegas CNN studio. In the Debate, there was an important question which revealed one growing importance in politics. The program moderator Anderson Cooper, asked the US Democratic Party presidential candidates,
"What is the greatest national security threat to the United States?"

Hillary Clinton said, "I think it has to be continued threat from the spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear material that can fall into the wrong hands."

Bernie Sanders, who is the new entrant to compete,
"The scientific community is telling us that if we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable. That is a major crisis." he said.

Bernie Sanders, reminds us the new British Labor Party Chairman Jeremy Corbyn. He served in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate for many years. He is defined as "Self-proclaimed Social Democrat" and early polls say that he is the most popular Democrat candidate after Hillary Clinton. He is a senior Jewish American politician. Do rich American Jews vote for him? It is unlikely.

Ranking of the most important danger for the US, as "Climate Change" was very remarkable indication to put into the deal. Henceforth the other candidates will pay more attention to global warming, less burning of fossil fuels, and to the reduction of CO2 emissions. The rise of environmentalist politicians continue. The politicians who pay less attention or ignorant to environmental sensitivity, decrease their chances to win.

On the other hand, particularly in Europe and the US, there is no drastic measure yet taken to reduce carbon emissions, not to mention the scandal about VW's emissions. Global warming, does not concern at all the people of the United States. The price of gasoline is dropped to $ 1.95 per gallon. 5.6 liter V-8 motor vehicles are very popular. You can not find everyone, saying "Let us leave our big cars, and let's take a public vehicle".

Realities and needs of the people of Turkey are different. "There are a million issues to improve before the carbon emissions," you might say. Current Account Deficient is high, there is terror, fragile economy, market disturbance, difficulty in financing projects. According to world 2010 statistics, the US is still leading the way with 17 tons of annual CO2 emissions per person. Turkish latest figures were published for 4-5 tons per person per year.

However on each platform, the global warming is entering the agenda. US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other G7 leaders have taken serious decisions about prevention of global warming in the latest G7 conference in Germany. In upcoming 20-November G20 leaders' meeting, this issue will certainly be on the agenda again. By reducing the use of fossil fuels, one should talk about price and market deterrence. Fossil fuels will be subject to import taxes, or the existing tax will be increased. Market observers foresee the escape from fossil fuels in the near future.

USA, China, India, South Korea, they put tax on imported coal they receive. They even have imposed the existing tax two- three fold. The purpose of the tax on imported coal, and fossil fuels provide market deterrence, subsequently to make indigenous and renewable energy sources more attractively priced.

This issue will surely be the G20 leaders meeting agenda in Belek. We, Turkish team, have to be prepared. G7 partners can make a decision. Countries that can not decide their strategies, are to adapt to the decisions of others.

Everywhere in the world, all fossil fuel firing thermal power plant investors are placed to avoid the domestic tax on imported coal by lobbying. They try to prevent tax. But that remains in the past.

In upcoming December 2015 Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris, it is expected to get commitments to reduce carbon emissions from each country. Each country is making own preparations in this regard. Turkey is also making preparations for sure. We, the people away from politics, do not know what the government and relevant ministries get prepared. But surely there is a preparation.

There are suggestions from various sectors in this regard. One of these proposals is put imported coal and imported natural gas to the carbon tax, to collect funds, then to utilize these funds for power from renewable energy sources - that are used in the development of energy generation from wind and sun sources. Thus, we can reach to the pronounced targets for carbon emissions, growth / development. Utilization of indigenous lignite and more renewable, domestic sources of wind- solar power, with local engineering are essential to realize more domestic manufacturing.

Investors are to make calculations and market predictions carefully to foresee the future of imported coal, and imported fossil fuels. If they can not foresee the future, they must share the risk with others by hedging to stay safe financially. If the control valve remains at the mercy of foreign countries, if your current account deficit is at unbearable levels, then you should stay away from imported fossil fuels in the future, and you should try to reduce your dependence.

There is no need for more investment in natural gas pipelines, no need for further investments on imported coal. It is all investors' risk. No matter what investors do, do as you wish, but please do keep us out of this, and do not come to public authorities to save you and pay you for your incorrect decisions.

Haluk Direskeneli is a graduate of the METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He has worked in public and private enterprises, in American, Turkish, and JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, in marketing, and in sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as a freelance consultant and energy analyst with thermal power plants as well as using his basic and detailed design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of the METU Alumni and the Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Prinkipo, Istanbul, 29 September 2015

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