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Climate Change ‘Immediate Risk’ to U.S. Security — Obama

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Washington (PNA/Xinhua) — U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday highlighted climate change as an “immediate risk” to the U.S. national security and warned that a one-foot (0.3-meter) sea level rise could cost the country as much as USD 200 billion by 2100.

“Make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country,” Obama said in a commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. “And so we need to act — and we need to act now.”

“Denying it, or refusing to deal with it, endangers our national security …(and) undermines the readiness of our forces,” said Obama, pointing a blaming finger at “some folks back in Washington who refuse to admit that climate change is real.”

The U.S. president noted that rising seas are especially a concern.

“Along our coasts, thousands of miles of highways and roads, railways, energy facilities are all vulnerable,” he told cadets. “It’s estimated that a further increase in sea level of just one foot by the end of this century could cost our nation USD 200 billion.”

He mentioned that high tides and storms flood parts of a navy base and an airbase at Norfolk, Virginia and that thawing permafrost caused by warmer temperatures in Alaska damaged military facilities.

“We have to help our bases and ports,” the president said. “Not just with stronger seawalls and natural barriers, but with smarter, more resilient infrastructure — because when the seas rise and storms come, we all have to be ready.”

Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is assessing the vulnerability to climate change of the military’s more than 7,000 bases, installations and other facilities, according to a White House statement.

Meanwhile, the DOD is studying the implications of increased demand for our National Guard in the aftermath of extreme weather events.

Climate change has been a top priority for Obama, and in the past two years, he has announced a series of executive actions to reduce carbon pollution because of being unable to pass climate legislation in Congress.

Earlier this year, the White House submitted its climate change plan to the United Nations, in which it pledged to reduce carbon emissions by up to 28 percent below 2005 levels in the next decade. Many climate experts, however, believed that the U.S. has the money and technology to do more in the fight against climate change. (PNA/Xinhua) JBP/EBP

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