On Wednesday, the White House released a new report, “The National Security Implications of Changing Climate .”
In concert with the release, President Obama delivered the commencement address at the United State Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, during which he argued that climate change ranks alongside terrorism as a primary threat to America’s future and criticized climate deniers in Congress for putting the security of Americans at risk.
“I know there are still some folks back in Washington who refuse to admit that climate change is real,” the president told graduating cadets. “Denying it, or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces .”
Here are Obama’s four main arguments connecting climate change to national security in the new report:
1. Climate change puts coastal areas at risk
Citing the lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, the effects of which were worsened by the fact that the sea level at New York Harbor had risen by a foot since 1900, the report called the nation’s coastal areas “the frontlines of the threat posed by climate change.”
“Critical infrastructure, major military installations, and hurricane evacuation routes are increasingly vulnerable to impacts, such as higher sea levels, storm surges, and flooding exacerbated by climate change. Sea level rise, coupled with storm surge, will continue to increase the risk of major coastal impacts on transportation infrastructure, including both temporary and permanent flooding of airports, ports and harbors, roads, rail lines, tunnels, and bridges.”
2. The changing Arctic poses risks to other parts of the country