Obama: Climate Change a Threat to National Security

May 20, 2015

President Obama congratulates the United States Coast Guard Academy’s Class of 2015 in New London, Connecticut. May 20, 2015.

This is kind of a big deal.

The most lengthy, detailed, and powerful statement on the urgency of dealing with climate change yet heard from an American President.

First few minutes are introductory fluff. The red meat starts at 10:00 minutes in. Worth a look – he ticks all the boxes, really.

Eric Holthaus in Slate:

Speaking at the United States Coast Guard Academy commencement in New London, Connecticut, Obama made climate change the focus of his remarks, calling the country’s failure to act to combat global warming a “dereliction of duty.” In association with the speech, the White House also released an 11-page report summarizing the government’s findings and initiatives on national security and climate change.

In his speech, Obama said that he anticipates “a rise in climate change refugees” and “increased competition for resources” over the coming decades. To these threats, Obama said, “I guarantee the Coast Guard will have to respond… you need to be ready.”

There’s evidence that this is already playing out in especially sensitive parts of the world. Obama’s speech linked climate stress to the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the civil war in Syria, with severe drought and associated food shortages seen by experts as an instigator of each conflict. A recent study by the risk analysis firm Maplecroft identified 32 countries where climate change could “amplify” civil unrest, including China, India, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Philippines.

The Pentagon now refers to climate change as a ‘threat multiplier.’ For these reasons, Obama concluded that global warming “cannot be subject to the usual politics.” The effects of climate change we’ve already seen have been enough to convert at least one former military commander from climate change denier to climate advocate.

5 Responses to “Obama: Climate Change a Threat to National Security”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    In terms of Shell drilling in the Arctic he hasn’t acted where he is putting his mouth.

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