Obama Likens Climate Change to Islamic State Terrorist Threat

President says global warming ‘akin to the problem of terrorism’

President Obama calls on the Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act while speaking to reporters in May 2015 / AP
December 1, 2015

President Obama likened climate change to terrorism and the Islamic State during a press conference Tuesday while participating in the U.N. climate talks in Paris.

Obama explained that threats from global warming and the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL or ISIS) each demand a consistent effort by the United States to combat them, according to The Hill

"In some ways, [climate change] is akin to the problem of terrorism and ISIL," the president stated.

Obama and members of his administration have repeatedly asserted that climate change poses the greatest threat to the planet and future generations, not terrorism. Republicans have criticized the president for not more seriously confronting the terrorist threat.

"No challenge -- no challenge -- poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change," Obama said in his 2015 State of the Union address.

Obama administration national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Monday that climate change and terrorism pose "very different threats" but would not specify which presents a greater threat to the homeland.

"The leaders who have looked at the danger of climate change, they see even the instability we’re faced today significantly magnified by the effects of climate change over time given the disruptions that extreme weather will have on certain countries, given, again, the lives that will be put at stake and the economic disruptions that will take place with the continued effects of climate change," Rhodes stated at a press conference.

"They’re very different threats, but they’re both very serious. And we have to deal with both them. And I think the one common thread is the fact that we need the world with us in this effort."

The climate change talks in France come just weeks after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the coordinated terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people on Nov. 13. France has stepped up its airstrikes against IS terrorists in the Middle East in the wake of the deadly attacks.

The Obama administration has insisted that it will increase airstrikes and special operations raids to defeat the terrorists but that sending U.S. troops to fight IS is not the "answer" to disabling the group.

The Islamic State has threatened attacks on American cities. A report released Tuesday concluded that IS has "unprecedented" support from individuals inside the United States.