President Barack Obama issued a directive Wednesday essentially elevating global warming with national security concerns such as fighting the Islamic State and stamping down international terrorism.
“Today, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum on Climate Change and National Security, establishing a policy that the impacts of climate change must be considered in the development of national security-related doctrine, policies, and plans,” the White House said in a press statement.
Part of the plan entails directing “20 federal agencies and offices with climate science, intelligence analysis, and national security policy development missions and responsibilities” to establish a beachhead against the kinds of actions exacerbating man-made global warming.
Obama’s decision to move global warming into the “war room” comes nearly a week after national security insiders and environmentalists urged the president to create a type of secretary of climate change.
An environmentalist think tank and former members of the military brass argued in a report on Sept. 14 that future presidential administrations must tackle global warming by crafting a cabinet level position to deal with the effects climate change have on national security.
The report, which also describes global warming as a “significant and direct” threat to the U.S. military, is the brainchild of Washington-based think tank Center for Climate and Security, as well as a bevy of senior retired military officials.
The threats from global warming “are already here and anticipated to grow,” White House special assistant to the president, Alice Hill, told reporters. The memo allows U.S. policy to focus primarily on conflicts caused only by global warming, according to Hill.
It also addresses the effects of global warming, such as the rise in ocean levels, as well as its perceived threat to military readiness.
The idea that global warming is affecting national security is not a purely Democratic position, as at least one Republican official with the Bush administration has expressed similar views.
Stephen Hadley, the national security advisor to former President George W. Bush, for instance, complained earlier this year that global warming is stimulating terrorism.
“Climate change and a lot of other economic dislocations have put a lot of people out of work,” Hadley said during a speaking event in August. People in battle-scarred countries, he added, have lost jobs and the ability to provide for themselves making them more susceptible to terrorist propaganda.
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