THE Trump administration generally has ignored science while pandering to narrow interests in withdrawing from a global treaty to diminish global warming, bolstering the use of fossil fuels and eviscerating federal regulations to diminish carbon emissions.
One federal agency, however, steadfastly has recognized that global warming poses a serious threat not only in broad environmental terms but directly to national security — the Department of Defense.
The two most recent defense budgets include billions of dollars to deal with threats to U.S. military bases due to rising sea levels. The 2017 legislation required each of the services to identify its 10 bases most threatened by global warming and stated that “climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States.”
The new defense bill requires all new military construction within 100-year flood plains to assume an additional 2 feet of flooding above current projections — a recommendation taken from the National Academies of Science.
And, the new bill recognizes the impact of global warming on the next probable arena of superpower competition – the Arctic, which is newly accessible because of thinning sea ice year-round. It requires the Coast Guard, which has just two ocean-going icebreakers, to build at least six over the next decade to ensure that the United States can compete in the region with China and, especially, Russia – which operates 25 ocean-going icebreakers.
Beyond facilities and ocean access, the Pentagon also has published multiple papers about the defense implications of rising sea levels and inland droughts displacing millions of people in the coming decades, ensuring more battles for resources and refugee crises.
Congress has passed the Pentagon’s priorities into law even as bitter-enders in both houses who deny climate change refuse to adapt the DOD’s conclusions for overall policy.
Members of Congress who want to act responsibly should attach responsible global warming policy measures to defense appropriations bills.
The Scranton Times-Tribune | AP