Spanberger calls climate change a national security priority

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WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) -- Next week, leaders from governments, businesses and more will gather to talk about combating climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Summit.

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger spoke during a hearing on climate change, calling it a threat to national security.

The hearing focused on the next generation of leaders in the global fight against climate change, and Spanberger wants to see today's young people continue their work to raise awareness about the international issue.

In her remarks, Spanberger outlined a variety of threats caused by climate change, including changes in rainfall patterns, changes in growing seasons, rising sea levels, and increased risks of conflict.

She also commended a young Swedish environmental activist named Greta Thunberg for her efforts to raise awareness about climate change.

"Next week, world leaders will meet in New York City to discuss ongoing international cooperation in the fight against climate change and the life-threatening impacts of mounting environmental damage," she said. "At this key moment, we cannot afford to retreat in t his battle, and we cannot afford to abandon our allies. America's leadership in the worldwide effort to combat the climate crisis is more than a moral imperative. It should be viewed as a top national security priority."

Spanberger's remarks also highlighted increasing instability due to food insecurity, water shortages and extreme weather events.

She has been talking about these kinds of issues since taking office, including citing the U.S. Director of National Intelligence's Worldwide Threat Assessment in January, which found that climate change will likely "fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent."

Spanberger is a support of the Climate Action Now Act, which passed the U.S. House earlier this year.

This legislation would require the United States to remain in the Paris Climate Accord, from which President Donald Trump withdrew the country in June 2017.

It would also push for the development of an evidence-based plan for how the U.S. can reduce emission levels.

The U.N. summit will take place Sept. 23, and leaders are being asked to bring realistic plans to help reduce greenhouse gas emission by 45 percent in the next ten years and get them down to net-zero by 2050.

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