Pentagon chief calls climate change “existential” threat

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The head of the Pentagon Lloyd Austin on Thursday, April 22, said that climate change is an “existential” threat to the national security of the United States. He expressed this opinion during a speech at the international climate summit, organized by the White House, according to the website of the defense department.

According to him, today no country in the world can ensure its security without solving the climate crisis.

“We face all kinds of threats in our work, but few of them really deserve to be called existential. This is the climate crisis, ”the Minister of Defense noted and added that it plays a huge destabilizing role in the world.

Thus, as the Arctic ice melts, Austin emphasized, competition for resources and influence in the region intensifies. Rising temperatures closer to the equator and frequent and intense extreme weather events in Africa and Central America “threaten millions of people with drought, hunger and displacement.”

As the head of the defense department emphasized, over the past few years, American military facilities have experienced the effects of climate change.

These included Hurricane Michael in 2018, which “caused billions of dollars in damage to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida,” and the severe Missouri River floods in 2019 that damaged Offatt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

“Wildfires in California threaten other military targets, forcing them to re-evacuate. Typhoons in Guam occurred most frequently from June to December, but in February 2019 typhoon Wutip forced us to suspend exercises with our Australian and Japanese allies, ”Austin added.

In conclusion, he stated that “none of us can solve this problem alone. We live on this planet, and common threats require common solutions. ”

Earlier on Thursday, the US President’s special envoy for climate, John Kerry, said that Washington considers the ideas presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the climate summit as progressive, and the United States may be able to cooperate with Russia in this area.

The International Climate Change Summit will be held from 22 to 23 April. 40 world leaders have been invited to the event. They will discuss various global environmental issues, as well as a joint fight against climate change. The event was initiated by the United States.

The summit was opened by American leader Joe Biden, announcing the country’s intention to stop harmful emissions into the atmosphere by 2050.

Putin, in turn, said that Russia is interested in stepping up international efforts in the field of climate.