“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,” Obama told new Coast Guard officers at the academy’s New London, Conn., campus. “And so we need to act — and we need to act now.”
Republicans in Congress, however, have stymied legislative action on climate change. The president took aim at GOP critics, saying temperatures are rising even though “some folks back in Washington” refuse to admit it.
“Denying it, or refusing to deal with it, endangers our national security and undermines the readiness of our forces,” Obama added.
He also questioned how Republicans could claim to support the military while downplaying the effects of global warming.
“Politicians who say they care about military readiness ought to care about this as well," he said.
Obama claimed the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the civil war in Syria were both fueled by instability caused by severe drought and crop losses connected to rising temperatures.