President Obama is once again arguing that climate change is a threat to national security.
In a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Wednesday, Obama noted the problems created by extreme weather, which scientists believe can be exacerbated by climate change. Members of the Coast Guard are often among the first responders during natural disasters such as hurricanes.
“You are part of the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us,” Obama told the class of 2015. “Climate change will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, today and for the long term.”
During the speech in Connecticut, Obama said that an increase in natural disasters will lead to more humanitarian crises that pose direct threats to a nation’s stability. “More extreme storms will mean more humanitarian missions to deliver lifesaving help,” he said. “Our forces will have to be ready.”
The speech echoed statements presented in the White House National Security Strategy, which said extreme weather, rising tides and temperature shifts fights over scarce resources and diminishing coast lines that will have a stark impact on the global economy.
According to a White House report released Wednesday, the Department of Defense is currently examining the impact climate change can have on U.S. military bases. The Pentagon is also considering how much strain extreme weather places on the Coast Guard.
Wednesday’s speech is the latest Obama administration push to focus the nation’s attention on the threats of climate change. Obama has often said climate change is the greatest threat facing the world’s future generations. It was a sentiment he stressed during an Earth Day trip to the Florida Everglades where he said, “This is not a problem for another generation. It has serious implications for the way we live right now.”
Facing a skeptical Congress, Obama has relied on executive action in efforts to curb the effects of changing temperatures and rising seas. The U.S. has also pledged to a 28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
“Some warming is now inevitable,” Obama said Wednesday. “But there comes a point when the worst effects will be irreversible. And time is running out. And we all know what needs to happen. It’s no secret.”
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