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)

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