Biden’s National Security Team Reiterates Commitment on Climate Change

by Miro Korenha, co-founder/publisher Our Daily Planet

As ABC6 reported, yesterday, “declaring “America is back,” President-elect Joe Biden introduced selections for his national security team Tuesday, his first substantive offering of how he’ll shift from Trump-era “America First” policies by relying on foreign policy and national security experts from the Democratic establishment to be some of his most important advisers.”

What stood out about the press conference was that almost every member of the national security team acknowledged that climate change is a serious threat multiplier for global instability. 

Why This Matters: Centering climate change in national security and foreign policy is important because, as the Obama White House wrote: it’s an urgent and growing threat to U.S. national security. President-elect Biden’s new team reinforces his whole-of-government approach to addressing climate change. The press conference was a welcome change, the adults are back in town!

As President-elect Biden said in his introduction yesterday:

“For the first time ever, there will be a principal on the NASA Security Council who can make sure climate change is on the agenda in the situation room.

For the first time ever, we will have a Presidential Envoy on climate. He will be matched with high level White House climate policy coordinator and policymaking structure to be announced in December. And that’ll lead efforts here in the United States to combat the climate crisis, mobilize action, to meet the existential threat that we face.

Let me be clear. I don’t for a minute underestimate the difficulties of meeting my bold commitments to fighting climate change. But at the same time, no one should underestimate for a minute my determination to do just that.”

Also noteworthy was John Kerry, who was named the special presidential envoy for climate change, made an appeal to people of faith in his remarks during the press conference. Kerry evoked President Kennedy who inspired both him and Biden as college students to pursue public service in saying he was

A president who reminded us that here on Earth, God’s work must truly be our own. President Joe Biden will trust in God, and he will also trust in science to guide our work on earth to protect God’s creation.” 

It’s an interesting play to tie climate action to faith. While not novel (after all the Pope has done the same) it will be worth watching how Kerry continues to make this appeal going forward. Will people of faith finally be compelled to take a vested interest in climate action?

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