The Defense Department said on Wednesday, Nov. 10, that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and climate change have the same priority in national security threats that the United States must resolve.

“I think we get paid to examine all threats to our national security,” the department’s press secretary John Kirby said in a media briefing at the Pentagon. “You have heard the secretary talk about the climate as a real and existential national security threat, and it is not just to the U.S. but to countries all over the world.”

“We considered China as the number one pacing challenge for the department. Both are equally important,” Kirby answered a reporter who questioned whether China or climate change was a bigger threat to the U.S, Conservative Daily News reported.

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has frequently warned of national security threats from climate change and taken measures to curb U.S. reliance on fossil fuels.

Kirby’s comments came one day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asserted at the United Nations COP26 climate summit in Glasgow that the U.S. military is a “larger polluter than 140 countries combined.”

Kirby admitted the fact that they were the largest emitter.

“We know that. And that’s… one of the reasons why we’re taking the climate crisis so very seriously, because we are a contributor to those emissions and we know that,” Kirby said in the briefing.

In a separate climate analysis report on Oct. 21, the Pentagon said that climate change again emphasizes strategy challenges for armed forces. 

“Climate change that exacerbates insecurity and instability in one region may disrupt nomadic population movements and/or contribute to temporary or permanent migration that impacts other regions,” the report stated. 

Besides the climate issue, the U.S faces other problems from within and outside, especially the threat from the CCP, as assessed by intelligence agencies.

In April, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded in its annual report that the CCP “will continue its whole-of-government efforts to spread China’s influence, undercut that of the United States, drive wedges between Washington and its allies and partners, and foster new international norms that favor the authoritarian Chinese system.”

The Pentagon revealed last week that China is developing its nuclear weapons arsenal faster than the United States.

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