Biden's Secretary of State Antony Blinken sat down with Australia's 60 Minutes, and when asked about the potential existential threat of nuclear war stemming from the conflict with Russia, he equated it to climate change.
"Your job is all about managing risk," Blinken was asked. "Vladimir Putin is threatening nuclear war, and this month we’ve seen the hottest temperatures on this planet on record. What is the greater threat to humanity in your mind, war or climate change?"
Blinken began with an equivocation of the two, nuclear war that could destroy the entire world population on one hand, and the ephemeral threat of climate change.
"Well, you can’t, I think, have a hierarchy," Blinken said. "There are some things that are front and center – the wolf at the door – including potential conflict, but there’s no doubt that climate represents an existential challenge to all of us." President Joe Biden has used that same talking point, calling climate change "the existential threat to humanity."
The Biden administration has repeatedly urged action on climate change, pushing the nation's electricity providers to switch to wind and solar power instead of oil and natural gas, despite both the increased expense and the lack of robustness of these new technologies. Biden has pressed Americans to drive electric cars instead of those that run on gasoline, as well.
"It’s one of the reasons we’re so gratified at Australia’s leadership," Blinken pandered, "when it comes to combating climate change; that Australia is stepping up in the way that it sends a very powerful message. It’s both practical in what Australia is doing, but it also is the symbolism of an important country taking a clear stand and also taking action against climate."
Australia passed the Climate Change Act in 2022, which sets the ambitious goal of the country reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Their approach, per the IEA, is a "technology-based approach." The island nation has been investing in low carbon power, and hopes for the private sector to follow suit with 80 billion in investment.
"So for us," Blinken continued, "this is the existential challenge of our times, but that doesn’t mean that in the meantime there are not severe challenges to the international order like Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. We have to multitask. Basically we’re, for better or worse, in a growth industry right now. We’ve got a multiplicity of challenges and we have to be able to engage them simultaneously. It’s again one of the reasons why having such a strong partnership and alliance with Australia matters more than ever."
While proponents of climate change policy are able to set timetables and make adjustments, meting out recommendations and guidelines that continue to shift based on practical and market factors, those hoping to stave off nuclear war must hope that the leaders of global superpower nations solve their differences amicably before determining that the only course of action is total annihilation.
But for Blinken, and apparently for the Biden administration, the threat of nuclear war is merely a blip on their long fight to reduce carbon emissions to apparently save the world.
Blinken was in Brisbane for the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, to meet with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defence Minister Richard Marles.