Pentagon Spox John Kirby: China, Climate Change are ‘Equally Important’ Threats

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - SEPTEMBER 02: Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon on September 02, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. Kirby updated the media on the transition of Afghan evacuees into the United States as well as the Department of Defense's assistance with Hurricane Ida. …
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Press Secretary for the Department of Defense John Kirby said the communist Chinese government and climate change are “equally important” threats during a press briefing Wednesday.

A transcript is as follows: 

REPORTER: [W]hich is a bigger threat, the climate or China?

JOHN KIRBY: I think we get paid to examine all the threats to our national security. And I don’t know that it does anybody good to put some sort of relative analysis assessment on that. You’ve heard the secretary talk about the climate as a — a real and existential national security threat, and it is, not just to the United States, but to countries all over the world. And we considered China as the number one pacing challenge for the department. Both are equally-important. Both are — are challenges that the secretary wants the senior leadership at the Pentagon to be focused on, as well as many others, too.

REPORTER: Does China take the climate issue as much as the administration–

KIRBY: I think it was disappointing that we didn’t see China show up at the COP — a missed opportunity because — because they are a huge emitter as well, and a contributor to the kind of climate change that we’re seeing. So the short answer to your question is, they didn’t show the sort of leadership on climate that they could have and should have.

REPORTER: So, if you were to rank the two, climate or China, which would be first?

KIRBY: Lucas, I think I answered your question.

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