EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
President Biden has repeatedly and rightly called climate change an “existential threat.” The White HouseThe Pentagon and the intelligence community have all issued reports detailing climate change’s “threat multiplier,” which will worsen food and water scarcity, spread diseases, destabilize countries, and exacerbate mass migration. Most Americans increasingly understand that the threat is critical—and getting worse.
Yet, despite some progress, the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland—which US special climate envoy John F. Kerry dubbed the world’s “last best hope” to avoid disaster—will end this week in disappointment. With Russia and China absent If they refuse to accelerate their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the goal of preventing temperature increases beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius is becoming ever more absurd. This leads to more deadly heat waves, more destructive flooding, more frequent wildfires, and more catastrophic weather.
To his credit, Biden has insisted that climate be one of the security priorities of his administration, and his Build Back Better plan—even in its reduced state—contains the government’s largest climate investment ever. And yet, the administration has not begun the necessary rethinking—and reprioritizing—needed to address our most pressing national security challenge.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.