Bernie Sanders: Yes, Climate Change Is Still Our Biggest National Security Threat

Following the deadly ISIS attacks in Paris, Sanders says that global warming is directly related to terrorism.


Bernie Sanders opened Saturday night’s Democratic debate by vowing to rid the world of ISIS, the terrorist organization that claimed responsibility for killing more than 100 people in Paris Friday. In a follow-up question, moderator John Dickerson pointed out that during a debate last month, Sanders had identified “climate change” as the greatest threat to national security. “Do you still believe that?” asked Dickerson.

“Absolutely,” replied Sanders. He added that “of course international terrorism is a major issue that we have got to address today,” but argued that “climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.” Sanders warned that global warming could cause international conflicts “over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to…grow crops.” You can watch the full exchange above.

Sanders isn’t alone in arguing that climate change has the potential to make international conflicts worse. According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “Extreme weather, climate change, and public policies that affect food and water supplies will probably create or exacerbate humanitarian crises and instability risks.” The Department of Defense says that climate change “poses immediate risks to US national security” and has the potential to exacerbate terrorism. There’s also substantial evidence that drought linked to climate change helped spark Syria’s civil war.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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