The EPA, Obama & the military usher in a new climate politics

Commentary: In the new political landscape, no candidate can be soft on climate and claim they’re strong on defense.
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An airforce pararescueman searches for survivors in the flooded streets of New Orleans.

Commentary: In the new political landscape, no candidate can be soft on climate and claim they’re strong on defense.

This summer will be a war of words on climate. Today, President Barack Obama will uphold his promise to bypass a corrupt and dysfunctional Congress and act on the clear and present danger of global warming.

Finally, with an announcement seven years in the making, President Obama will exert the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon emissions from U.S. coal-fired power plants. In response, the coal industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have plans to make it a top election issue this fall. 

President Obama should welcome the fight.

Not only are these coal plants the single largest contributor of greenhouse gases that cause devastating global warming, they also release millions of tons of poisonous materials like mercury and lead into America’s air.

A Harvard study released in 2006 found that, on average, poisonous emissions from coal plants kill roughly 36,000 Americans due to cancer, respiratory illness and other health problems each year.

That’s more than twelve September 11th attacks a year.

It’s also five times as many deaths as all of the fallen U.S. soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Since September 11th, U.S. coal-fired power plants have contributed to the deaths of roughly 432,000 Americans. That’s more than the 407,000 U.S. soldiers that died during all of World War 2.

Combined with climate conditions that caused severe drought in 60 percent of the U.S. last year, global food shocks that destabilize entire regions, and accelerating weather patterns that kill thousands and cause hundreds of billions in damage every year 'ꀊit’s clear that global warming and its causes are more than a national security concern.

Global warming is now the biggest national security threat America faces.

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