The mere news of Trump's upset win in 2016 sent Brown University's Kim Cobb into "an acute mental health crisis" that for weeks saw her unable to "get out of bed, despite having four children to tend to," the climate scientist toldMother Jones in 2019. "I could not see a way forward," Cobb recalled at the time. "My most resounding thought was, how could my country do this? I had to face the fact that there was a veritable tidal wave of people who don't care about climate change and who put personal interest above the body of scientific information I had contributed to."
Cobb's appointment to the board reflects the Biden administration's whole-of-government approach to fighting climate change. Just one week after taking office in January 2021, Biden issued an executive order that declared climate change considerations "central to United States foreign policy and national security" and called on Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to prepare a report on the "national security impacts of climate change." Months later, in June 2021, Biden identified climate change as the "greatest threat" to American national security.