Some 48 US political grandees, including two former secretaries of state and three former defence secretaries, have put their names to a full-page advert in the Wall Street Journal calling on the country to "grab the mantle of global leadership" to overcome the challenge of climate change.

"For years, America's intelligence community and armed services have recognised climate change as a threat to US national security", the page starts, before going on to say, "The US has always led on big global challenges. We must tackle this threat by mobilizing the strength and ingenuity of the US."

The letter was organised by Partnership for a Secure America (PSA), a non-profit group that aims to "advance bipartisanship on today's critical national security and foreign policy challenges." The page's signatories include former secretary of state under Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright; secretary of defence under Obama, Chuck Hagel; and secretary of state under Reagan, George Shultz. Many of those named on the page are also on PSA's advisory board.

The advert is thought to be aimed at Republicans who want to bring down the Obama administration's plans to cut carbon emissions, though it also comes weeks before the UN Climate Conference in Paris (COP21) that is thought to be the world's last chance to make a comprehensive global agreement on climate change.

On 19 October, US Vice President Joe Biden called climate change a "deadly serious issue" and said that as "we head to Paris, we are really close to a historic deal".

The PSA's ad focused more on the security threats posed by climate change, saying that it will shape "a world that is more unstable, resource-constrained, violent, and disaster-prone". The page called on American political and business leaders to "think past tomorrow" to take action.

"For 20 years, the US has asserted that this is a global problem that will require global solutions... We can ensure a prosperous future for our nation by shoring up resilience and mitigation efforts at home, assisting vulnerable partners abroad, and planning past tomorrow – where Americans will live with the decisions of today."