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Former Military Leaders Respond to President’s Climate Action Plan and Speech

In light of the release of the President’s Climate Action Plan yesterday, and his speech in Georgetown, four distinguished members of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board, as well as retired Brigadier General Gerald Galloway, USA, have shared with us their thoughts on the plan, and the speech.

Rear Admiral Titley USN RetRear Admiral David Titley, USN (ret)

— “President Obama gave us a much-needed climate speech and roadmap for climate action, and not a day too soon. These actions, if implemented, will provide meaningful progress and leadership on the climate challenge, and will thereby strengthen our nation’s security.”

— “The President’s Climate Action Plan is long overdue and, if implemented, would set the United States on a course towards meaningful CO2 reduction and strengthening our society against the weather and climate shocks that, unfortunately, we will need to withstand in the coming decades.”

— “I’m glad to note the President’s Climate Action Plan acknowledges climate change as a risk to our national security. Climate change, energy, water, and our nation’s security are inextricably linked. By getting serious about tackling the roots of climate change, we will over time, create a more stable security environment for our nation.”

Mark MyklebyColonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby, USMC (ret)

— “The President’s speech showed an innate pragmatism that is both informed by scientific evidence and a moral imperative to act now. Long overdue.”

— “The President is right that this is about U.S. leadership. We, the US, cannot claim the role of leader if we are not prepared to lead on this or any of the other great global challenges of our time, including the climate, food, and water crises. It would be a quintessentially American approach to turn such a large challenge into a long-term opportunity.”

— “We need to get our citizen swagger back, and stop looking for a party or action group to absolve us of our responsibilities as citizens to take on the challenges of our time, including climate change. I’m glad the President closed with a call for citizen engagement and action.”

Castellaw_July2012_Pew.072312V5 - BWLieutenant General John Castellaw, USMC (ret)

“Consistent with the view of our military and intelligence communities, the President’s Climate Action Plan rightly acknowledges climate change as a risk to our national security. America can’t wait for others to protect our national security – that’s our job. And that includes taking the lead in combating the climate threat.”



Brig. General John Adams, USA RetBrigadier General John Adams, USA (ret)

“President Obama’s speech today recognizes the need to act on climate change in the interest of American national security. Cutting carbon emissions is important for our economy and our health, and spurs innovation and investment in energy technologies that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The President’s plan will also put the U.S. in the global lead on climate change, galvanizing international action to reduce carbon emissions, and strengthening global capacity for planning and response for climate impacts. The President’s realistic yet aggressive plan strengthens our economy and enhances our national security in the face of climate change.”

GallowayBrigadier General Gerald Galloway, Jr, USA (ret)

“Climate change has significant national security impacts. The President is on target. The nation cannot ignore these impacts. In 2007, CNA’s Military Advisory Board, made up of retired senior general and flag officers with long experience in dealing with such security issues, characterized climate change as a threat multiplier – a potential major source of instability in some of the most volatile nations of the world. We also found that as climate change impacts become more severe, over reliance on oil is another threat to our security – economically, environmentally and diplomatically. The Board has emphasized that shifting to cleaner more efficient forms of domestic energy will provide significant long-term benefits to the American economy and national security. We can no longer act as if climate change does not have consequences. We must take the steps that are need to move us to a course that will mitigate, to the best of our ability, these consequences.”

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