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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Nuclear war no worse than climate change – Blinken

Warmer temperatures are the number one “existential threat” to the world, the US’ top diplomat has claimed

The threat of nuclear annihilation is no more serious than the threat of climate change, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed. Blinken’s critics argue that Washington is risking nuclear war by arming Ukraine.

In an appearance on 60 Minutes Australia on Sunday, Blinken was asked whether nuclear war or climate change represented “the greater threat to humanity.”

Read more: North Korea reacts to US nuclear stunt

“Well, you can’t, I think, have a hierarchy,” he replied. “There are some things that are front and center…including potential conflict, but there’s no doubt that climate represents an existential challenge to all of us.”

“So for us, this is the existential challenge of our times,” he continued, adding that this “doesn’t mean that in the meantime there are not severe challenges to the international order like Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”

With July set to go down as the hottest month in history, the UN has called for “accelerated action” to reduce carbon emissions, including a global end to coal use by 2040. Earlier this summer, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry demanded an overhaul of the world’s agricultural system to reduce carbon emissions from farming in a bid to avert “half a degree of warming by mid-century.”

In Ukraine, however, President Joe Biden’s administration continues its policy of open-ended support for Kiev’s military. The US and its NATO allies have armed Ukraine with long-range missiles and are currently discussing the supply of American-made fighter jets to Kiev, amid repeated warnings from Moscow that such weapons dramatically raise the chances of an all-out war between Russia and the West.

Read more: Russia will treat F-16s in Ukraine as nuclear threat – Lavrov

Kiev’s forces have also made repeated attempts to target Russian nuclear power plants, the Kremlin warned earlier this month, accusing Ukraine and its sponsors of “nuclear terrorism.” 

In the US, warnings about the imminent threat of nuclear conflict have primarily come from the isolationist wing of the Republican Party. Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and former President Donald Trump have been two of the loudest voices calling for an end to the US’ support for Kiev, with Trump declaring in April that the world was facing “the most dangerous period” in history because of nuclear weapons and “incompetent” leadership in Washington.

“Every day this proxy battle continues, we risk global war,” Trump said in March, arguing that “we should support regime change in the United States” to avert this risk.