(CNSNews.com) - Global warming is one of the greatest threats to U.S. national security and the world, according to a panel of well-known environmentalists who spoke Tuesday at the self-described "progressive" Take Back America conference in Washington, D.C.
In their discussion, "Global Warming: Meeting a Real and Present Danger," the panelists warned that, despite a rising movement to debunk the theory of global warming as a myth, climate change threatens America's security. Two panelists also claimed that no matter the outcome of November elections, U.S. environmental policy will improve.
John Podesta, president/CEO of the liberal America Center of Progress and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, called global warming a "severe national security problem" and noted that President Bush, who has made national security a top priority, has nonetheless nearly ignored the problem of climate change.
"When it comes to energy policy and global warming, it's hard to imagine someone who could have done a poor of a job as Bush a rolling disaster," said Podesta. "In the end, doing nothing will present a far greater cost than acting. You would think the CEO of the country would be doing something about this."
Nonetheless, said Podesta, "I am confident in 2009 we will have government that will take on global warming. At least all three candidates believe there is a problem this time. The next president is going to have to show that this is, overall, a top priority in the government."
Carl Pope, executive director of the liberal Sierra Club, agreed that public opinion will force the next president into action against global warming. "The next president will certainly have to reduce carbon spending," he said.
But Adrienne Marie Brown, executive director of the liberal Ruckus Society, which she described as a non-violent direct-action training group, noted the ethnicity of her fellow panelists and said that change will not come through polite requests or through the action of "just white environmentalists."
"Political movement and requests for government are not enough," she said. "So far, I think we are being too polite. We are sitting back discussing it and watching people get kicked out the back door. ... Power concedes nothing until it receives a demand."
The crowd cheered and applauded Brown's remarks.
The fifth annual Take Back America Conference is sponsored by the Campaign for America's Future (CAF). The conference hosts forums that allow liberals to discuss issues and, according to the CAF website, to salvage opportunity from the "ashes of this conservative era."
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