(CNSNews.com) - Speaking at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, President Barack Obama said that climate change is a “primary” national security threat to the United States.
“The Pentagon has already said that climate change is a primary national security threat that we’re going to face, and we are working with the Department of Defense to start preparing for that and mitigating for that,” Obama said. “And a lot of our international policy and national security policy is centered around the very real concerns that that’s going to raise.”
In the same presentation, Obama said that the planet is warming and that this is having an impact on human health.
“And what we know is that the temperature of the planet is rising,” said Obama. “And we know that in addition to the adverse impacts that may have when it comes to more frequent hurricanes, or more powerful storms, or increased flooding, we also know that it has an impact on public health.”
The president said that as a consequence of climate change he expects to see more insect-borne diseases in North America.
“We know that if there are more wildfires, a consequence of rising temperatures, that there are going to be more particulates in the air,” said Obama. “We know that potentially it extends the allergy season, and can induce greater incidents of asthma or more severe incidents of asthma. We know that, potentially, as temperatures rise, that we’re going to start seeing insect-borne diseases that are not traditional to North America start moving up from the south.”
Obama said that he had been aggressive in unilaterally using executive power to deal with the climate change issue, but that a great deal more needed to be done.
“So the bottom line is we all need to do our part,” said Obama. “Obviously, this administration has been aggressive in using the administrative authorities that we currently have to increase fuel efficiency standards to make sure that we are taking more carbon out of the emissions from our power plants. But we’ve got a lot more work to do if we’re going to deal with this problem in an effective way and make sure that our families and our kids are safe.”