Monday, September 25, 2017

46 Republicans Join Dems in Backing Military Study on Climate Change Threat

By Eric Pianin
July 14, 2017

President Trump has been highly dismissive of the long-term threat of climate change, to the point of recently pulling the U.S. out of the Paris international climate change accord. But not so Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis and many other defense experts.

During his Senate confirmation hearing in January, Mattis described global warming as a “driver of instability” requiring a broader, “whole-of-government response.”

So it was significant that the House on Thursday defeated an amendment to national defense authorization legislation that would have blocked a detailed Department of Defense study into the 20-year impacts of climate change on national security and the military.

Like many other current and former military brass and defense experts, Mattis views the effects of climate change and rising sea levels as a grave threat to U.S. military operations and bases around the world. Mattis said in written testimony that it was essential that the military consider how changes like open-water routes in the thawing Arctic and drought in international trouble spots can present challenges for troops and defense planners, as ProPublica reported in March.

“Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” Mattis said in a written response to a question posed by a Democratic member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”


Indeed, extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels already are posing problems or many military facilities. Military installations on waterfront properties are facing hundreds of floods a year, and in some cases could be mostly under water by 2100, according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.


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