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SPEECH: Spanberger Calls Addressing Climate Change a “National Security Imperative”

The Congresswoman Spoke in Support of Legislation She Helped Introduce to Require the United States to Remain in the Paris Climate Accord

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today described climate change as a national security threat—and she urged her colleagues to vote in support of legislation to maintain U.S. leadership in addressing global instability and environmental damage.

On the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Spanberger described the destabilizing effects that climate change and extreme weather can have on fragile governments, conflict zones, and areas experiencing food and water scarcity. During her remarks, she also described how legislation she helped introduce would reassert the critical role of U.S. participation in global efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Spanberger is a cosponsor of the Climate Action Now Act, which would require the administration to remain in the Paris Climate Accord. Additionally, the bill would push the administration to develop an evidence-based plan for how the United States can best reduce emission levels.

Click here for a video of her full remarks. A full transcript is provided below:

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I rise in support of H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act.

Back in 2003—16 years ago, the Pentagon commissioned a report on how climate change would impact our ability to keep our country safe.

Its conclusion? That we should move beyond scientific debate—and treat ongoing ecological damage as a serious national security threat.

Our military and intelligence communities agree that climate change exacerbates conflict and instability. It weakens fragile governments, contributes to food and water insecurity, and perpetuates poverty.

These are threat multipliers, and they present real risks to U.S. interests around the globe—especially in areas vulnerable to extreme weather, such as the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.

As a former CIA officer, I recognize that combating climate change is a national security imperative—and the first step in this fight is to keep our word—to cooperate with our key allies and partners in this battle.

By staying in the Paris Agreement, we demonstrate that the United States takes our planet’s fate seriously, keeps its word, and can be a steady partner in future agreements.

Going forward, we must use our country’s tremendous diplomatic, military, and economic strengths as assets in this global fight.

Today, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, because our country cannot afford to abdicate its role of leadership.  

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Background

A former Central Intelligence Agency case officer, Spanberger has continued to stress the national security implications of climate change. Earlier this month, she asked U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a series of questions related to U.S. intelligence threat assessments—including those related to climate change.

Spanberger serves as Vice-Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment. On this Committee, her responsibilities include oversight of legislation related to global energy trends, energy security, and the environment.

During a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing focused on the threat of climate change, Spanberger called on the administration to further examine how U.S. isolation in the fight against climate change could hamper international progress on reducing emissions. Click here to watch an excerpt of her remarks.

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