Janet Napolitano on Waiting 75 Years to Address Climate Change: ‘Oh My Heavens’

Janet Napolitano on Waiting 75 Years to Address Climate Change: ‘Oh My Heavens’

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano does not think much of the Trump administration’s approach to confronting climate change.

Napolitano sat down with Ali Velshi on MSNBC Tuesday afternoon to talk about her new book, How Safe Are We?, a look at the history of homeland security since the 9-11 attacks and an apparently harsh criticism of the Trump administration’s work in that area. Napolitano is particularly critical of the current president’s policies on the southern border, dismissing his wall as a silly idea and advocating for more technology, particularly at ports of entry, to stop drug smuggling.

But it was the issue of the Trump administration’s approach to climate change that drew Napolitano’s most amazed reaction.

It began when Velshi noted that in her book, Napolitano addresses some areas that we do not always associate with homeland security. One of those areas is climate change, which has the potential to disrupt many areas of American life, such as food supplies, disaster preparedness, and a host of others.

Velshi quoted from the book, noting that “‘Instead of adopting policies on energy and urban planning and flood control and insurance that mitigates the threat from climate change over the long term, we pour hundreds of billions into reacting and recovering from climate-driven disasters.'” He added that Trump’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency has said that climate change “is 50 to 75 years away, and we don’t have to worry about this.”

To which Napolitano gave the only reasonable reaction: “Oh my heavens.”

The former Homeland Secretary went on to note that she lives in California, which just went through one of the worst wildfire seasons in its history, and which scientists believe was exacerbated by climate change. She also noted that states such as Florida and Texas are seeing the effects of climate change with sea levels rising and more powerful hurricanes making landfall. “If we wait for 50 to 75 years from now to do anything, shame on us,” she concluded. “Shame on us.”

Watch the entire interview up top, via MSNBC.


Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.