President Barack Obama and potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush declared a war of words within the war on climate change this week.
The two diametrically opposed politicians’ verbal clash in the media may be a portentous glimpse at one of the most likely-to-be hot button issues in the 2016 presidential election.
Hillary Clinton has recently spent time wooing progressives with her climate change rhetoric, while Republican Ted Cruz has said climate change believers are the new “flat Earthers.” For the most part the candidates are divided on the topic by party lines, with a few exceptions.
Obama on Wednesday warned that climate change is a threat to national security. He made the remarks in a speech to the graduating class at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut, where he called climate change “a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake: It will impact how our military defends our country.”
Obama warned of defense impacts such as flooding of military bases, damage to bases located in cold weather climates and drought and wildfire.
Underlying his statement is his administration’s pursuit of a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the COP21 – United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December.
Later in the day following Obama’s speech, Bush said the science is not decided and that “it’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it.”
Instead of focusing on carbon emissions, Bush said government should consider providing more incentives for lower carbon-producing forms of energy, such as hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling.
The media ran with this:
- A Newsweek headline: “Barack Obama vs. Jeb Bush: The Climate Change Edition”
- NBC News: “Jeb Bush: ‘Really Arrogant’ to Claim Science Is Decided on Climate Change”
- Huffington Post: “Jeb Bush: It’s ‘Intellectual Arrogance’ To Agree With Scientists About Humans Driving Climate Change”
- Reuters: “Jeb Bush says climate is changing but human role is ‘convoluted'”
The insurance industry has been tied to climate change – though it’s not considered a carbon-producing industry – with international calls for more mitigation, better risk management and examination of potential losses, and more investing in green energy.
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