Obama Directs US Government on Implications of Climate Change

23 Sep 2016 by OOSKAnews Correspondent
WASHINGTON, DC, United States

US President President Barack Obama, on 21st September, issued a directive memorandum to heads of the nation’s executive departments and agencies instituting a framework to ensure that climate change-related impacts are fully considered in the development of national security doctrine, policies and plans.

Obama’s memo describes climate change as “a significant and growing threat to national security, both at home and abroad. Climate change and its associated impacts affect economic prosperity, public health and safety, and international stability.”

The US President identifies “extended drought, more frequent and severe weather events, heat waves, warming and acidifying ocean waters, catastrophic wildfires, and rising sea levels all (having) compounding effects on people's health and well-being.”

The memorandum further observes that “…flooding and water scarcity can negatively affect food and energy production. Energy infrastructure, essential for supporting other key sectors, is already vulnerable to extreme weather and may be further compromised. Impacts of a changing climate can create conditions that promote pest outbreaks and the spread of invasive species as well as plant, animal, and human disease, including emerging infectious disease, and these can further undermine economic growth and livelihoods…all of these effects can lead to population migration within and across international borders, spur crises, and amplify or accelerate conflict in countries or regions already facing instability and fragility.”

Obama is reported to regard action to combat the effects of climate change on the planet to be the most consequential legacy of his two-term presidency, saying earlier this month that “if…trendlines continue…it is certainly going to be enormously disruptive. Imagine, for example, monsoon patterns shifting in South Asia…if you have even a portion of a billion people displaced…you have the source of refugee crises and potential conflicts that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes. You’re looking at a much more dangerous world and severe strains on nation states, on communities, on economies,” a theme he returned to this week in his “farewell address” to the United Nations General Assembly.

The next installment of the global climate discussion, COP22, will convene in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November 2016. Moroccan officials have confirmed that one day of the event will be dedicated to water. The “water day” is intended to bring attention to the role of water in climate adaptation and mitigation.

Hillary Clinton, the Democrat Party’s nomination to succeed Obama in the White House, was praised by water advocacy group Water 2017 this week for “clearly understanding the threats that water scarcity poses to the US and its allies and (recognizing that) water represents one of the great diplomatic and development opportunities of our time.”