Is Climate Change Worse Than Terrorism? WH Had Hell Of A Time Answering That One

Al Weaver Reporter
Font Size:

This was not one of Josh Earnest’s better days.

At Tuesday’s White House briefing, the White House press secretary got a little tongue-tied during a back-and-forth with ABC’s Jon Karl over President Barack Obama’s claim to Vox that the media “absolutely” overstates the terrorism in comparison to climate change. (RELATED: Obama – Climate Change Is Bigger Threat Than Terrorism)

“[President Obama] was asked if the media overstates the level of alarm people should have a bout terrorism, as opposed to longer term problems of climate change and epidemic disease, he says ‘absolutely,'” Karl began. “So, let me just clarify, is the president saying, as he seems to be implying here, that the threat of climate change is greater than the threat of terrorism?

“I think, Jon, that the point the president is making is  that there are many more people on an annual basis who have to confront the impact, the direct impact, on their lives of climate change or on the spread of a disease than on terrorism.

“So the answer is yes, the president thinks that climate change is a greater threat than terrorism,” Karl shot back.

“The point that the president is making is that when you’re talking about direct daily impact of these kinds of challenges on the daily lives of Americans, particularly Americans living in this country,” Earnest told Karl. “That direct impact is more — that more people are directly impacted by those things than by terrorism.”

“So climate change is more of a clear and present danger to the United States than terrorism?” Karl asked the White House flack.

“Well, I think even the Department of Defense has spoken to the significant threat that climate change poses to our national security interests,” Earnest continued, “principally because of the impact it can have on countries with less well developed infrastructure than we have.”

“I’m not asking about its significance,” Karl countered, “I’m asking if it’s a greater threat.”

“I wouldn’t have a whole lot more to say about what the president has said in that interview,” Earnest said in a final dodge.