ISIS has taken responsibility for the horrifying attacks in Paris that have left more than 150 dead and hundreds wounded. French President Francois Hollande is calling for the closure of his country’s borders. President Barack Obama didn’t condemn Islamic radicals for the attacks, but he did call them “an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians” and “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”
Friday’s deadly attacks thwarted Al Gore’s long-planned Paris webcast and star-studded concert to promote climate change awareness.
“Out of solidarity with the French people and the City of Paris, we have decided to suspend our broadcast of 24 Hours of Reality and Live Earth,” the group said in an online statement.
Coincidentally, in July 2008, Al Gore called climate change a more dangerous threat than terrorism. “I think that the climate crisis is, by far, the most serious threat we have ever faced,” Gore told ABC News.
Below are 23 times Obama or his administration officials claimed climate change a greater threat than radical Islamic terrorism.
In a January 15, 2008 presidential campaign speech on Iraq and Afghanistan, Barack Obama said the “immediate danger” of oil-backed terrorism “is eclipsed only by the long-term threat from climate change, which will lead to devastating weather patterns, terrible storms, drought, and famine. That means people competing for food and water in the next fifty years in the very places that have known horrific violence in the last fifty: Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Most disastrously, that could mean destructive storms on our shores, and the disappearance of our coastline.”
On January 26, 2009, Obama delivered remarks at the White House on the “dangers” of climate change:
These urgent dangers to our national and economic security are compounded by the long-term threat of climate change, which, if left unchecked, could result in violent conflict, terrible storms, shrinking coastlines, and irreversible catastrophe.
In May 2010, the Obama White House released it’s national security strategy, which said, “At home and abroad, we are taking concerted action to confront the dangers posed by climate change and to strengthen our energy security.” The document declared climate change “an urgent and growing threat to our national security.”
On September 6, 2012, during his Democratic National Convention speech, Obama said, “Yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future.
On January 23, 2013, in an address before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry declared climate change among the top threats facing the United States.
February 16, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed students in Indonesia and said that global warming is now “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”
In a June 2014 interview, Obama said:
When you start seeing how these shifts can displace people—entire countries can be finding themselves unable to feed themselves and the potential incidence of conflict that arises out of that—that gets your attention. There’s a reason why the quadrennial defense review—which the secretary of defense and the Joints Chiefs of Staff work on—identified climate change as one of our most significant national security problems. It’s not just the actual disasters that might arise, it is the accumulating stresses that are placed on a lot of different countries and the possibility of war, conflict, refugees, displacement that arise from a changing climate.
During a September 2014 meeting with foreign ministers, Secretary of State John Kerry called Climate change a threat as urgent as ISIS.
On September 24 2014, the Obama USDA launched its Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture. In a memo posted by Secretary of State John Kerry, among other Obama administration officials, read,“From India to the United States, climate change poses drastic risks to every facet of our lives.”
On October 29, 2014, in an address to the Washington Ideas Forum, Obama’s Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said:
From my perspective, within the portfolio that I have responsibility for–security of this country–climate change presents security issues for us. There’s a security dynamic to that. As the oceans increase, it will affect our bases. It will affect islands. It will affect security across the world. Just from my narrow perspective, what I have responsibility for, that’s happening now.
During his 2015 State of the Union address, Obama said, “No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”
In a February 2015 address to college students in Iowa, Vice President Joe Biden said “Global warming is the greatest threat to your generation of anything at all, across the board.”
On February 09, 2015, in an interview with Vox, Obama said he “absolutely” believes that the media “sometimes overstates the level of alarm people should have about terrorism” as opposed to “climate change.”
On February 10, 2015, when asked to confirm if this means Obama believes “the threat of climate change is greater than the threat of terrorism,” Earnest responded, “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.”
During his April 18, 2015 weekly address on climate change, Obama said, “Wednesday is Earth Day, a day to appreciate and protect this precious planet we call home. And today, there’s no greater threat to our planet than climate change.”
In May 2015, the White House released a 1,300-page National Climate Assessment that declared climate change among the world’s foremost threats.
May 20, 2015 President Obama said in his keynote address to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduates: “Climate change, and especially rising seas, is a threat to our homeland security, our economic infrastructure, the safety and health of the American people.”
On July 13 2015, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy and Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Kenneth F. Hackett wrote in a joint blog post on the EPA website, praising Pope Francis for dedicating his second encyclical to urging swift action on global warming.
McCarthy and Hackett wrote:
As public servants working in both domestic policy and diplomacy, we understand the urgent need for global action. Climate impacts like extreme droughts, floods, fires, heat waves, and storms threaten people in every country—and those who have the least suffer the most. No matter your beliefs or political views, we are all compelled to act on climate change to protect our health, our planet, and our fellow human beings.
An Obama Defense Department report released on July 29, 2015 says climate change puts U.S. security at risk and threatens the global order:
The report reinforces the fact that global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the foreseeable future because it will aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions that threaten domestic stability in a number of countries.
The report finds that climate change is a security risk because it degrades living conditions, human security, and the ability of governments to meet the basic needs of their populations. Communities and states that are already fragile and have limited resources are significantly more vulnerable to disruption and far less likely to respond effectively and be resilient to new challenges.
In his August 28, 2015 weekly address, Obama said “This is all real. This is happening to our fellow Americans right now,” he said. “Think about that. If another country threatened to wipe out an American town, we’d do everything in our power to protect ourselves. Climate change poses the same threat, right now.”
In a September address at the United Nations Climate Summit Obama said, “For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week–terrorism, instability, inequality, disease – there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”
During a September 28 address at the United Nations, President Obama said that ““We can roll back the pollution that we put in our skies,” adding that “No country can escape the ravages of climate change.”