President Obama will today warn graduates of the Coast Guard Academy of the grave danger posed to the United States by climate change. Speaking at the academy’s graduation ceremony, Obama will say that climate change poses a substantial risk to national security, according to the New York Times.
“I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country, and so we need to act, and we need to act now.”
By framing the issue of a matter of national security, Obama may make some who would otherwise ignore climate change sit up and take notice.
Obama is to explain how every aspect of the nation’s services will be affected by climate change, “today and for the long term.” As Breitbart notes, Obama has been focusing more heavily on climate change as of late, implying that it is a greater threat than terrorism in a recent interview.
The President released a plan back in March with wide-reaching and ambitious goals to combat climate change. The United States has long had a rocky history with climate change and is consistently ranked as one of the most polluting nations on Earth, making Obama’s plan even more notable. The President plans for the US to cut emissions by over 25 percent come 2025. China, the world’s most polluting nation, has vowed to lower emissions after 2030.
However, a recent poll discovered that only 32 percent of Americans are highly concerned by climate change, leaving the future, and likelihood of these plans coming to fruition up in the air.
Obama’s speech will also mention how climate change is to affect the military’s facilities, the Washington Times reports.
“Climate change poses a threat to the readiness of our forces. Many of our military installations are on the coast, including, of course, our Coast Guard stations. Around Norfolk, high tides and storms increasingly flood parts of our Navy base and an air base. In Alaska, thawing permafrost is damaging military facilities. Out West, deeper droughts and longer wildfires could threaten training areas our troops depend on.”
Norfolk, the home of some of the U.S. Navy’s most important facilities, is perhaps the most prominent example of climate change posing significant difficulties for the armed forces. NPR reports that water levels in the area have risen by one and a half feet in under a century, and some wonder just how long the base will be able to remain operational.
What are your thoughts on Obama’s prioritization of climate change? Do his plans go too far, or not far enough?
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]