WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of next week’s United Nations (UN) Climate Change Summit, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger yesterday called combatting climate change a national security priority.
During a hearing focused on the next generation of leaders in the global fight against the climate crisis, Spanberger emphasized the national security risks posed by global climate change and encouraged youth to continue their work to raise awareness about this pressing international security issue.
Spanberger outlined the many threats created by climate change—including changes in rainfall patterns, fluctuations in growing seasons, rising sea levels, and heightened risks of conflict. Additionally, she commended Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg for her efforts to raise awareness about climate change, including through her speech at the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference. Click here to watch her remarks, and click here to watch the full hearing.
“Next week, world leaders will meet in New York City to discuss ongoing international cooperation in the fight against climate change and the life-threatening impacts of mounting environmental damage. At this key moment, we cannot afford to retreat in this battle—and we cannot afford to abandon our allies. America’s leadership in the worldwide effort to combat the climate crisis is more than a moral imperative—it should be viewed as a top national security priority,” said Spanberger. “During yesterday’s hearing, I was honored to hear from some young leaders as they shine a light on the critical, widespread issues of climate change. As international instability is increasingly fueled by food insecurity, water shortages, and extreme weather events, policymakers must take steps to understand these root causes, improve our resiliency, and develop a cohesive security strategy to handle the ripple effects of the climate crisis.”
In her opening comments, Spanberger also highlighted the findings of top U.S. national security officials regarding the severe threat climate change poses to global stability. In January 2019, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence’s Worldwide Threat Assessment found that climate change is “likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond.”
Earlier this year, Spanberger joined a majority of the U.S. House in passing legislation to help tackle the ongoing national security threats faced by the United States as a result of climate change. The Climate Action Now Act—which she helped introduce—would help reassert U.S. leadership in global efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The Spanberger-supported bill 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 in cooperation with the agreement.
In May, Spanberger spoke on the floor of the U.S. House in support of the Climate Action Now Act. In her remarks, she urged her colleagues to maintain U.S. leadership in mitigating global instability and averting environmental catastrophe. Click here to watch her full speech.
A former Central Intelligence Agency case officer, Spanberger has continued to stress the national security implications of climate change. In March, 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.
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.
Yesterday’s hearing was held as a joint hearing between the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment Subcommittee and the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Spanberger serves as Vice-Chair of the Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment Subcommittee. On this Committee, her responsibilities include maintaining oversight of legislation related to global energy trends, energy security, and environmental protection.