NPR logo In Speech, Obama Will Cast Climate Change As 'Immediate Risk' To U.S. Security

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In Speech, Obama Will Cast Climate Change As 'Immediate Risk' To U.S. Security

President Barack Obama speaks at the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center on Monday in Camden, N.J. Chris LaChall/AP hide caption

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Chris LaChall/AP

President Barack Obama speaks at the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center on Monday in Camden, N.J.

Chris LaChall/AP

During a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy today, President Obama will cast climate change as posing an "immediate risk to our national security."

NPR's Scott Horsley reports Obama is expected to tell graduates that the Coast Guard itself will have to adjust to the effects of rising sea levels. Scott filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Coast Guard stations are among of the many military facilities already feeling the effects of a changing climate. In low lying Norfolk, Virginia high tides already swamp parts of a Navy base. But Obama says the global reach of a changing climate extends far beyond the coast, and crosses international boundaries.

"The Administration is trying to curtail heat-trapping greenhouse gases with new restrictions on carbon pollution, especially from coal-fired power plants. But those rules face both political and legal challenges. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, whose home state of Kentucky is a leading coal producer, is encouraging states to resist the power plant rules."

According to excerpts released by the White House, Obama will say that climate change is also already affecting major American cities, from Miami to Norfolk.

"This is not just a problem for countries on the coast or for certain regions of the world. Climate change will impact every country on the planet," Obama will say. "No nation is immune. So I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now."