WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and senior member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, today made the following statement on President Obama’s commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy, which emphasized the importance of acting on climate change and the risks this global threat poses to national security:
"Because New York Harbor had risen a foot since 1900, Superstorm Sandy took a particularly heavy toll on New York City and the northeast: eight million without power; tens of billions of dollars in damages. That kind of impact goes far beyond mere inconvenience. It's a threat to the safety and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans.
"Climate change also threatens our national security interests around the world. Refugee flows, a scarcity of basic resources like food and water, and heightened risks of disease all stem from our changing climate. These impacts stifle development, undermine prosperity, and fuel conflict around the globe.
"The President understands this threat, and he’s working to make our nation safer. It's past time for all our policymakers to see this danger for what it is and start working to meet the challenge."