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Senator Graham on Climate Change, National Security and the Military Perspective

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Senator Lindsey Graham speaking climate change and national security [Image: The Center for Climate and Security, May 16, 2017]

At an event on Capitol Hill Wednesday sponsored by the Center for Climate and Security and its partners (Deploy/US, the Evangelical Environmental Network and the R Street Institute), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) highlighted the opportunity for a bipartisan approach to climate change and clean energy policy. Specifically focusing on the national security and military perspective, Senator Graham noted: “From a national security side: Retired generals and admirals, the more you speak about the national security implications, the easier it is for a Republican to get involved.”

Senator Graham was speaking directly to retired flag and general officers on The Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board who were present at the event, including Vice Admiral Dennis “Denny” McGinn, USN (Ret) and General Ron Keys, USAF (Ret).

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Left-to-right: Gen Ron Keys, USAF (Ret), Rev Mitch Hescox, Greta Van Susteren [Image: The Center for Climate and Security, May 16, 2017]

General Keys later participated in a panel discussion featuring perspectives from the military, business, faith and conservative policy worlds, moderated by long-time Fox News and now NBC anchor Greta Van Susteren. In describing the path forward for policy-makers trying to address climate-driven vulnerabilities across the United States, General Keys noted:

“We ain’t gonna make it [addressing climate change] fun. But what we can do is make it less painful.”

The event emphasized a simple point: There is no credible reason for climate change, and its impacts on security (both as that relates to the military and civilian population in the United States) to be a partisan issue. There is nothing ideological about the nature of the threat, and there are a range of practical solutions to addressing it that all parties can get behind, if the will is there.


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