Well, first, I doubt seriously whether he issued any statement about climate change in response to questions about terrorism. But what this meme gets the most wrong is the fact that it would make sense for him to do so.
Because climate change is the single most serious threat to national security we are currently facing.
Let me make this clearer. Terrorism in general, and Islamic terrorism in particular, gets a lot of media attention, and for good reason; ISIS and their ilk are horrible, bloodthirsty people, behaving in a fashion that defies comprehension. They have brutalized their own people, and struck again and again in other countries with suicide bombs and guns.
But in terms of numbers at risk, there is no comparison. According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism, 3,066 Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks since 9/11 (of which 2,902 occurred on 9/11). Even if you factor in terrorist attacks worldwide, we come to a figure of an average of 20,000 deaths a year from terrorism. Most of these occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, and Egypt -- illustrating once again that the people most at risk from Islamic terrorism are other Muslims.
Contrast that with the estimate from the World Health Organization that the number of deaths from the combined effects of climate change in the coming decades is predicted to be upwards of 250,000 a year -- over ten times the number of deaths from all terrorist attacks combined.
Oh, but that's just a prediction, right? Before you start scoffing about predictions, you might want to hear about a study by Kevin Trenberth, Lijing Cheng, and John Abraham published just this week in Ocean Sciences, which shows that the climate models of ocean warming have predicted with an accuracy within 3% of the actual measurements.
In other words, (surprise!) the scientists actually know what they're doing, and are not fudging the results because of some weird conspiracy to get funding (one of the most common jabs you hear aimed at climate scientists). And the work of Trenberth et al. has been thoroughly vetted -- at the time of publication, its results were independently corroborated by two other teams.
[image courtesy of NOAA]
"Climate Inaction Figures." Worth watching, even if painfully close to the truth.