Obama Administration: Climate Change Is ‘An Urgent and Growing Threat’ to National Security

Miljan Mladenovic/Shutterstock.com

The White House highlighted climate change as a major risk to Americans at home and abroad on Friday with the release of its latest national security strategy.

"Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water," the report warns.

The document, which serves as a road map for President Obama's national security agenda, ranks climate change alongside weapons of mass destruction, infectious disease, and threats against American citizens abroad as top priorities for U.S. foreign policy.

"We continue to face serious challenges to our national security," the strategy cautions. "Escalating challenges to cybersecurity, aggression by Russia, the accelerating impacts of climate change, and the outbreak of infectious diseases all give rise to anxieties about global security."

Obama has warned that climate change poses a threat to international stability before. And indeed, the administration's 2010 national security strategy also noted that climate change posed a threat to U.S. interests. But Friday's document puts global warming front and center, addressing climate risks and impacts early on and throughout the report.

The White House also touts administration efforts to tackle a warming planet, echoing a refrain from Obama's State of the Union address.

"America is leading efforts at home and with the international community to confront this challenge," the report states, adding: "Over the last six years, U.S. emissions have declined by a larger total magnitude than those of any other country."

The strategy blueprint is sure to meet with criticism from the Republican Congress.

Administration critics like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have often slammed the administration for prioritizing climate change as a focus of national security.

"[Secretary of State John Kerry] sees a greater threat from your SUV than he does to Iranian nuclear weapons," Cruz said during an interview with CNN last year.

(Image via Miljan Mladenovic/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.