by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders still believes global warming is the greatest threat to America’s national security, rehashing the stance taken by Democratic politicians in recent years that carbon dioxide emissions are more dangerous than terrorists.
“If we are going to see an increase in drought, in flood, and extreme weather disturbances as a result of climate change, what that means is that people all over the world are going to be fighting over limited natural resources,” Sanders told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, doubling-down on remarks he made during the Democratic presidential debate Saturday night.
“If there is not enough water, if there is not enough land to grow your crops, then you’re going to see migrations of people fighting over land that will sustain them. And that will lead to international conflict,” Sanders said.
Sanders, who’s in the running for the Democratic nomination, isn’t the only liberal politician to make the connection between conflict and climate. Sanders’ primary opponents former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has repeatedly claimed global warming contributed the Syrian Civil War, and therefore the rise of the Islamic State.
President Barack Obama himself has also said global warming is the U.S.’s greatest national security threat.
“It is not a coincidence that immediately prior to the civil war in Syria, the country experienced the worst drought on record,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in an October speech.
Sanders and other politicians acknowledge “terrorism is a major issue that we’ve got to address today,” but still name rising carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels represent the greatest long-term threat to Americans — an increasingly popular claim as United Nations climate summit approaches.
“In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism,” Sanders said during Saturday’s debate. “And if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say you’re gonna see countries all over the world– this is what the C.I.A. says, they’re gonna be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops. And you’re gonna see all kinds of international conflict.”