"CLIMATE CHANGE IS OUR BIGGEST NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT..."
"That is a major crisis..."
All the Democratic candidates for president were asked during Tuesday's debate to list what they consider the biggest national security threat to the United States. While most focused on the Middle East or China -- anticipated responses -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) chose climate change.
"The scientific community is telling us if we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable," Sanders said. "That is a major crisis."
Martin O'Malley, the former Maryland governor, mentioned the unrest in the Middle East, but also pointed to climate change as an issue that exacerbates existing concerns about resources and migration.
"Climate change makes cascading threats even worse," O'Malley said. He has specifically discussed how it may be influencing the Syrian crisis on the campaign trail.
The Pentagon has said that the effects of climate change act as "threat multipliers." Climate, the Department of Defense said last year, aggravates the conditions of "poverty, environmental degradation, political instability and social tensions — conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence."
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Kate Sheppard Senior reporter/Environment and energy editor, The Huffington Post
CREDIT: AP Photo/Dave Martin, A worker mops the floor of the stage prior to the first Democratic presidential primary debate of the 2008 election hosted by the South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC., Thursday, April 26, 2007.
The winning poster of the 2015 Saxoprints Creative awards for WWF was inspired by the famous painting Liberty Leading the People from Eugène Delacroix. Photograph: Pierre Gaudoin / Céline Lentz / WWF France/2015 Saxoprints creative awards