President Obama used a commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy Wednesday afternoon to make clear that his administration views climate change as the most severe threat to national security.
At the Coast Guard commencement, Obama made a “push for urgent action to combat climate change as a national security imperative,” the New York Times reports.
“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,” the president told graduates of the Coast Guard Academy.
“And so we need to act, and we need to act now,” Obama urged graduating cadets.
The president said to the graduates, “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. It will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, their capabilities, today and for the long term.”
Climate change, and especially rising seas, is a threat to our homeland security, our economic infrastructure, the safety and health of the American people. Already, today, in Miami and Charleston, streets now flood at high tide. Along our coasts, thousands of miles of highways and roads, railways, energy facilities are all vulnerable. It’s estimated that a further increase in sea level of just one foot by the end of this century could cost our nation $200 billion.
Although he warned cadets about the supposed disastrous effects of climate change, the president used Air Force One (described by the NYT as the “biggest carbon sin”) for at least 3 trips on Wednesday.
After his speech, the president took off on his private jet to a Democratic National Committee (DNC) fundraiser at a private residence in Stamford, Connecticut. To attend the fundraiser, donors must shell out $33,000 dollars per person, according to reports.