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Scott Perry Blasts Obama For Failing To Use The Coast Guard To Deal With Islam

The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency hearing this morning, organized by the subcommittee’s chair, first-year U.S. Representative Scott Perry, was an exercise in the surreal. The hearing, titled Examining DHS’s Misplaced Focus on Climate Change, consisted mostly of bluster by Representative Perry, mixed in with stunned responses from the three administrators and one scientist called by Perry to testify.

Typical was the accusation Perry made during his opening remarks. Perry complained, “At the Coast Guard Academy graduation in May, President Obama said that “climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security.” Statements like these contrast with the President’s efforts to broker a deal with Iran and failure to call the enemy what it is – radical Islamist extremism.”

How does a statement observing that climate change constitutes a national security risk contrast with an effort to negotiate an end to nuclear weapons development by Iran?

What would Scott Perry have Barack Obama do? Would he have the President lecture the Coast Guard about its need to confront “radical Islamist extremism”? What could the Coast Guard do to deal with “radical Islamist extremism”? Does Representative Perry think that Muslim terrorists are coming by boat to the United States?

If Scott Perry wants to see a contrast, he should contrast his own confused statement with the carefully prepared statement of Marc Levy, Deputy Director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University, who was called by Perry to testify at the hearing today. “The premise of this hearing is backwards,” Levy explained. “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is not doing enough to prepare the country for security threats from climate change.”

“Since 2009 every National Threat Assessment by the Director of National Intelligence has pointed to climate change as a major security threat,” Levy told the subcommittee, and noted that the impacts of climate change have already made several towns in Alaska uninhabitable. Levy identified a body of scientific research showing that “climate stress is very strongly statistically associated with political violence and instability”, and cited additional research indicating that the particular forms of climate stress most strongly correlated with political violence and instability are growing in both magnitude and frequency.

Levy also reminded the subcommittee that, as the impacts of climate change increase, funds for programs to deal with the resulting security threats have decreased. Congress has eliminated funding for the CIA’s climate crisis response center. MEDEA, a program that enabled climatologists to work with intelligence data in order to assess security risks resulting from climate change, has also been eliminated by Congress.

Levy provided two and a half pages of references to substantiate his position. Representative Scott Perry brought nothing but his opinion – and his funding from the fossil fuel industry – to the table.

congressman scott perry loves his plaque

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