President Barack Obama is heading up to New London, Connecticut Wednesday to deliver the commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy, but the president also plans to give an impassioned speech on how graduating guardsmen will be on the front lines of the war on global warming.
“Climate change will impact every country on the planet,” reads Obama’s prepared remarks. “No nation is immune. So 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.”
“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’s speech reads. “Climate change will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, today and for the long-term… 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,” Obama will tell the guardsmen.
To hit the point home, the White House has released an eleven-page document listing the different ways global warming will affect national security. The White House warns that troops must be ready for extreme weather, sea level rise, droughts, food shortages, violent conflicts, climate refugees and the list goes on.
“Climate change will change the nature of U.S. military missions, demand more resources in the Arctic and other coastal regions vulnerable to rising sea levels and other impacts, and require a multilateral response to the growing humanitarian crises that climate change is predicted to bring,” the White House document reads.
Secretary of State John Kerry joined Obama is highlighting the national security concerns of global warming, also making sure to criticized anyone who “doubts” that man-made global warming was real.
“Anyone who doubts that confronting climate change is a national security issue should have sat in the meetings I just had in Asia, where it was a primary topic of discussion with every one of my interlocutors, alongside other security issues like [North Korea] and violent extremism,” Kerry said in a statement.
“And that’s true around the world,” Kerry added. “So now it’s time to put aside discredited scientific arguments and partisan politics and to focus on the facts — not just for our health and the health of our children but for our planet’s security as well.”
Obama and Kerry’s call for action on global warming comes as other developed nations push for the United Nations to adopt “ambitious” carbon dioxide reduction targets at the next international climate summit in December.
The Wall Street Journal reports that France and Germany have both called for “ambitious, comprehensive and binding” CO2 reduction targets to be adopted by UN delegates in Paris this winter. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have argued there’s “little time” left to tackle global warming.
Obama and European leaders are hoping they can inspire developing countries like China and India to use more green energy and cut CO2 emissions by highlighting the environmental and national security problems facing the world if warming continues. Despite rising alarm from developed countries, the developing world doesn’t seem to want to listen.
EurActiv reports that the Balkans and Ukraine are making “substantial investments” in coal-fired power plants to support their growing economies and rising demand for reliable energy from Western Europe.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine are planning to build a total of 14.82 GW of new coal power capacity” EurActiv reports, which is a response to the European Union’s bid to become less reliant on Russia for power.
India, the world’s third-largest CO2 emitter, plans to double its coal use by 2020 to provide electricity to the more than 300 million people that lack reliable sources of power. India is also expected to overtake China as the world’s largest thermal coal importer in the next couple of years.
“India will have the largest impact on seaborne thermal coal markets as lofty domestic production targets battle with likely swelling imports due to a wave of new demand from new generation plants,” according to analysts with Bloomberg Intelligence.
Earlier this year, India rejected overtures by the Obama administration to forge an agreement on CO2 cuts– mirroring an agreement made between Obama and China’s government in late 2014.
But even China has been wishy-washy on coal, despite promising Obama it would peak its CO2 emissions by 2030. The Wall Street Journal reports that China is investing $46 billion in new trade routes across central Asia. The lion’s share of the spending will go towards providing “electricity to energy-starved Pakistan, based mostly on building new coal-fired power plants.”
“The plans envisage adding 10,400 megawatts of electricity at a cost of $15.5 billion by 2018,” the Journal reports. “After 2018, adding a further 6,600 megawatts is outlined—at a cost of an additional $18.3 billion—that in cumulative total would double Pakistan’s current electricity output.”
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