- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 14, 2015

Democrats increasingly have cited climate change as the top threat facing the world today — even above the war against terrorism — but Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris surely will remind lawmakers and candidates of all stripes that the fight against radical Islamists is by no means over and represents a more immediate danger to people around the world.

In practical terms on the ground in Paris, the terror attacks have quickly overshadowed global-warming activism. Former Vice President and climate-change activist Al Gore on Friday night postponed a 24-hour concert webcast designed to promote an upcoming climate summit Paris. Mr. Gore was scheduled to host the webcast from the foot of the Eiffel tower, but the event was scrapped after 127 people were killed in a series of shootings and explosions across the city on Friday.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

“Out of solidarity with the French people and the City of Paris, we have decided to suspend our broadcast of 24 Hours of Reality and Live Earth,” reads a statement on the website of the concert, which was to include performances in cities across the globe. “Our thoughts are with all who have been affected and the entire nation of France. We send our condolences to the families of those who have been killed or injured.”

But more broadly, the Paris attacks raise questions about Democrats’ insistence that climate change is the biggest threat facing the world today. President Obama has indicated global warming is one the world’s biggest challenges, and the Pentagon has stressed that a changing climate could exacerbate other problems around the world.

Polling data also has shown that Democrats see climate change as a more important issue than national security and terrorism.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released in May found that 15 of Democrats said climate change was their top priority, while just 13 percent said that of national security and terrorism.

Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent seeking the White House in 2016 as a Democrat, has given strong voice to that position.

At a Democratic primary debate last month, he flatly named climate change as the world’s No. 1 threat.

“The scientific community is telling us if we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy, the planet we’re going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable. That is a major crisis,” he said.

Mr. Obama is scheduled to be in Paris later this month for a highly anticipated United Nations climate conference. The meeting will be the president’s final chance to secure the kind of broad, international climate-change agreement he’s been seeking since coming to office in 2009.

It’s unclear how Friday’s attacks may affect the conference, if at all.

This article is based in part on wire-service reports.

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