by Paul Bedard • Washington Examiner
Stepping up his war on global warming and bolstering the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to put new restrictions on coal-fired energy plants, President Obama Wednesday issued a new report warning that the phenomenon can cause allergies, asthma and foster terrorism.
The report lists at least 34 effects of climate change, a doomsday scenario of health, security, economic and political issues.
“Climate change is contributing to extreme weather, wildfires, and drought, and that rising temperatures can lead to more smog and more allergens in the air we breathe, meaning more kids are exposed to the triggers that can cause asthma attacks,” said the White House.
The report was issued in advance of the president’s trip Wednesday to New London, Conn., to deliver the commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy. It stresses the need to reduce global warming to help reduce national security risks.
It also comes in advance of the EPA’s new push to cut carbon in the air. The White House said, “We also need to decrease the harmful carbon pollution that causes climate change. That is why, this summer, the EPA will put in place commonsense standards to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, the largest source in the United States.”
The highlights from “Findings from Select Federal Reports: THE NATIONAL SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF A CHANGING CLIMATE.”
With climate change, certain types of extreme weather events and their impacts, including extreme heat, heavy downpours, floods, and droughts, have become more frequent and/or intense. In addition, warming is causing sea level to rise and glaciers and Arctic sea ice to melt.
These and other aspects of climate change are disrupting people’s lives and damaging certain sectors of the economy. The national security implications of climate change impacts are far reaching, as they may exacerbate existing stressors, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and political instability, providing enabling environments for terrorist activity abroad. For example, the impacts of climate change on key economic sectors, such as agriculture and water, can have profound effects on food security, posing threats to overall stability.
The implications of climate change on national security are not all beyond U.S. borders – they pose risks here at home. According to the Third National Climate Assessment, 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. Extreme weather events are also affecting energy production and delivery facilities, causing supply disruptions of varying lengths and magnitudes and affecting other infrastructure that depends on energy supply. Increasing risk of flooding affects human safety and health, property, infrastructure, economies, and ecology in many basins across the United States.
These impacts increase the frequency, scale, and complexity of future defense missions, requiring higher costs of military base maintenance and impacting the effectiveness of troops and equipment in conflict. Assessments are currently underway by the Department of Defense (DOD) to determine the national resources necessary to respond to these growing threats to U.S. national security.