Climate change is a threat to international security, France's influential Environment Minister Segolene Royal warned Saturday — adopting an unusually hawkish stance as she heads to the U.S. to push for a global deal on reducing emissions at a landmark Paris conference this year.
She will have to push especially hard in Washington, but she relishes the challenge. Royal, longtime former partner of President Francois Hollande and one of France's most experienced female politicians, is playing a key role ahead of U.N. climate talks in Paris in December.
Amid skepticism in the Republican-led U.S. Congress about the science of climate change and resistance to a legally binding treaty, President Barack Obama also recently argued that rising sea levels and resource shortages could threaten the readiness of U.S. forces and aggravate instability around the globe.
"If everyone realizes ... that the cost of inaction is much higher than the cost of action, then I think we can convince some members of Congress who are still reticent," Royal told The Associated Press in an interview in Paris on Saturday.
She said Obama was "right" to use the national security argument, one rarely in heard in Europe, where people largely accept humanity's responsibility for global warming.
"The climate question is also at the heart of the security question," Royal said, noting in particular the growing number of refugees fleeing climatic disasters and chronic shortages.
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