Donald Trump’s Newest Adviser Says Global Warming Is a Huge Threat to National Security

But don’t get too excited.

Evan Vucci/AP

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Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey has signed on as a senior adviser to Donald Trump—even though the two men’s views are oceans apart on an issue very close to Woolsey’s heart: climate change.

For years, the former CIA director has been an advocate for cleaner energy and has called for addressing global warming from a national security perspective. He argues that our current energy sources put us at “the whims of OPEC’s despots” and make us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. He wants the United States to shift from its reliance on coal and oil to renewables and natural gas. “There’s enough consensus that human-generated global warming gas emissions are beginning to have an effect,” he said in an interview in 2010. “Next year might be cooler than this year but that doesn’t mean the trend isn’t there.” (Indeed, the world keeps getting warmer.)

Woolsey signed a statement declaring that climate change represents a “serious threat to American national security interests.”

In 2013, Woolsey was one of dozens of national security experts who signed a statement declaring that climate change represents a “serious threat to American national security interests.” The “potential consequences are undeniable, and the cost of inaction, paid for in lives and valuable US resources, will be staggering,” read the statement. “Washington must lead on this issue now.”

Trump, on the other hand, doesn’t believe in global warming, having called it a Chinese hoax. He’s even pointed to cold winter weather in an attempt to debunk this “GLOBAL WARMING bullshit.” Trump wants to scrap President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan and back out of the Paris climate accord. Rather than move toward renewable energy, he wants to make the United States energy independent by resuscitating the coal industry.

Mother Jones reached out to Woolsey to ask how he feels about Trump’s climate change denialism. He did not immediately respond. In a statement distributed by the Trump campaign, Woolsey, who served as CIA director under President Bill Clinton, criticized Hillary Clinton for how she ran the State Department. Trump, Woolsey insisted, “understands the magnitude of the threats we face and is holding his cards close to the vest.” So does he think Trump is a secret believer in climate change after all?

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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