Fox personalities criticized President Obama for calling climate change “an immediate risk to our national security” during his U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement address. But security experts agree with the president that global climate change does threaten U.S. national security.
At Coast Guard Commencement, Obama Calls Climate Change A National Security Issue
Obama: Climate Change Represents “An Immediate Risk To Our National Security.” During the May 20 commencement address for the United States Coast Guard Academy, Obama warned of the immediate security challenges posed by climate change.
OBAMA: Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune. So I'm 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. [The White House, 5/20/15]
Fox Attacked Obama For Calling Climate Change A National Security Threat
Fox Business' Lou Dobbs: Obama's Concentration On Climate Change Shows He “Seems To Have Utterly Lost His Way.” On the May 20 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs railed against President Obama for calling climate change “an immediate risk to our national security,” claiming the president “seems to have utterly lost his way.” Dobbs and his guest, Fox contributor K.T. McFarland, then suggested that President Obama is ignoring other security threats like ISIS, Iran, and North Korea. [Fox Business Network, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 5/20/15]
Fox's Charles Krauthammer: The “Scariest” Part Of The Growing Threats Against The U.S. Is That Obama Believes Climate Change Is “The Great Threat To Our National Security.” During the May 20 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer discussed the national security threats posed by North Korea, Iran, and ISIS. Krauthammer called Obama's belief that climate change is an immediate national security risk the “scariest” part of the current threats facing the country. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 5/20/15]
Fox's Eric Bolling: “Global Warming Is Not A Threat. It's Not A Real Threat. It's Not A Credible Threat.” During the May 20 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Eric Bolling dismissed the president's claim that global climate change is a serious threat to U.S. national security, saying, “It's not a real threat. It's not a credible threat. It's not an imminent threat. ISIS is.” [Fox News, The Five, 5/20/15]
Fox Business' Stuart Varney: Obama Is Using Climate Change As A “Distraction” From Other National Security Issues. During the May 20 edition of Fox Business Network's Varney & Co., host Stuart Varney argued that Obama was “ignoring” international threats and using climate change as a distraction. [Fox Business Network, Varney & Co., 5/20/15]
But Military Professionals Agree That Climate Change Poses A Significant National Security Threat
Center For Naval Analyses (CNA): Climate Change Poses “Severe Risks [To] Our National Security.” In May 2014, the Center for Naval Analyses published a report titled National Security and the Accelerating Risk Of Climate Change. The report detailed the effects of global climate change on national and international security (emphasis added):
The nature and pace of observed climate changes--and an emerging scientific consensus on their projected consequences--pose severe risks for our national security. During our decades of experience in the U.S. military, we have addressed many national security challenges, from containment and deterrence of the Soviet nuclear threat during the Cold War to political extremism and transnational terrorism in recent years. The national security risks of projected climate change are as serious as any challenges we have faced.
In many areas, the projected impacts of climate change will be more than threat multipliers; they will serve as catalysts for instability and conflict. [Center for Naval Analyses, National Security and the Accelerating Risk Of Climate Change, May 2014]
Department Of Defense: “Climate Change Will Affect The DOD's Ability To Defend The Nation And Poses Immediate Risks To U.S. National Security.” The Department of Defense's 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap warned that “a warming climate 'poses immediate risks to U.S. national security' and could trigger anything from 'infectious disease to terrorism.'” As Mic noted, this was not the first time those in the military community have sounded the alarm on climate change:
A May report by 11 retired commanders cautioned that installations in Virginia could experience up to 7 feet of sea rise by the end of the century. The Pacific Institute's Peter Gleick argued earlier in 2014 that “water and climatic conditions have played a direct role in the deterioration of Syria's economic conditions,” helping aggravate the country's political divisions and spawn the ongoing civil war that now involves U.S. bombing runs. And Retired Navy Rear Adm. David Titley argued that climate change will be “one of the driving forces in the 21st century” and says that inaction could result in massive and lethal extreme weather events that do damage on the level of major wars.
“Water shortages in the Middle East could benefit terrorist organizations, who can exploit hunger and unrest to tighten their grip on locals,” McDonnell wrote. “Increased shipping traffic in the melting Arctic could spark political tension between polar nations. Increasing prevalence and severity of natural disasters worldwide will become a more significant burden for military-led relief efforts.”
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Chris King told Responding to Climate Change that the threat posed by a rapidly changing planet “is like getting embroiled in a war that lasts 100 years” with “no exit strategy.” He pointed to poor countries like Afghanistan, Haiti, Chad and Somalia as likely participants in climate-triggered conflict. [Mic, 10/13/14]