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President Joe Biden visited the US Air Force Base in Suffolk, England on Wednesday, marking his first overseas trip as president, and delivered a speech to the American troops there.
He mentioned that he consulted military leaders to determine the greatest foreign and domestic dangers to the country. Biden said that rather than terrorism, China, or another emerging challenge on the international stage, their answer was climate change.
” Y’know when I was over in the tank in the Pentagon, and I was first elected vice president with President Obama, the military sat us down to let us know what the greatest threats facing America were, the greatest physical threats.”
“This is not a joke. Y’know what the Joint Chiefs told us the greatest threat facing America was?
“Global warming,” Biden said.
He claimed the military leaders’ reasoning for placing climate change so high on the list were the geopolitical byproducts, such as displacement from land and relocation to new ones.
“Because there’ll be significant population movements, fights over land, millions of people leaving places because they are literally sinking below the sea in Indonesia. Because of the fights over what is arable land anymore,” Biden explained.
He told the soldiers that “We must all commit to an ambitious climate action if we’re going to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, limiting global warning—warming—to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
The commander in chief emphasized the need to facilitate the “global transition to clean energy technology.”
Biden’s comments come after the development that the U.S. Army plans to prioritize climate change as a grave peril to national security, a memo revealed. The Army has committed itself to combatting climate change with new risk analyses, threat projections, installation and natural-resource planning, supply-chain procurement considerations, and general strategy.
The Army’s statement echoes Biden’s, claiming that the effects of climate change can induce “humanitarian disasters, undermine weak governments and contribute to long-term social and economic disruptions.”
Vice President Kamala Harris, who was tasked with managing the growing crisis at the southern border, has argued that climate change is a “root cause” of migration. Harris participated in a joint press conference with the president of Guatemala Tuesday, during which she reiterated the role climate change plays in uprooting families to find a new domicile in another country. When a reporter asked why Harris has not yet visited the U.S. border with Mexico, she said that she is focusing on the underlying catalysts of migration, by making diplomatic trips, over making “grand gestures.”