Former Obama Sustainability Officer: Climate Change is ‘Mother of All Risks’

By Sam Dorman | November 10, 2015 | 12:56pm EST
Former Obama administration sustainability officer Jon Powers. (LinkedIn)

Climate change is the “mother” of all national security risks, said former Obama administration sustainability officer Jon Powers, warning that “without a global agreement in Paris, the world—including the U.S.—is headed toward potentially catastrophic climate impacts.”

Leaders of over 190 countries are scheduled to meet in Paris from November 30 to December 11 to craft a legally binding global agreement on climate change.

“In the security world, decisions are made by a careful evaluation of risk. And climate change is the mother of all risks,” Powers, the former chief sustainability officer and special advisor on energy to the U.S. Army, wrote in a Time Magazine op-ed on Friday.

Powers claimed that climate change worsens security threats in unstable regions, suggesting that the U.S. should act on climate change with the same urgency it acts on intelligence affecting national security.

“To the military, climate change acts as a threat multiplier, exacerbating threats in already unstable regions of the world,” Powers asserted. “Just as we act aggressively on information from the national security intelligence community, we must also act on the scientific evidence from our nation’s best climate scientists.”

“It’s clear that no country can avoid the impacts of climate change, and no country can meet this challenge alone,” he warned.

“The U.S. must replicate this leadership and seize the opportunity when countries meet this December in Paris to finalize a global deal on climate change.

"A strong global climate agreement in Paris would usher in a clean energy economy while building a safer, stronger America," Powers stated.

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