New Congressional report issued by Pentagon warns against climate change, calls it a ‘global issue’

"The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense (DoD or the Department) missions, operational plans, and installations."

Image Credit: U.S. Army National Guard/Getty Images

A Congressional mandated report, Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense, released by the Pentagon calls climate change a national security issue that puts U.S. military bases at risk.

Calling it a “global issue,” the Department of Defense (DoD) has begun teaming up with other countries “to understand and plan for future potential mission impacts.”

“In two months, the United Nations will convene countries from around the world here in Peru to discuss climate change,” U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. “Defense leaders must be part of this global discussion. We must be clear-eyed about the security threats presented by climate change, and we must be pro-active in addressing them.”

Not only does the report warn against ” flooding, drought and wildfires and other effects of climate change,” the 22-page analysis “reveals that two-thirds of the 79 mission-essential military installations that were reviewed are vulnerable to current or future recurrent flooding, more than half are vulnerable to current or future drought, and about half are exposed to wildfires. Six sites are also facing desertification and one is vulnerable to thawing permafrost,” EcoWatch reported.

“The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense (DoD or the Department) missions, operational plans, and installations.”

While Marine Corps bases were left out of the report even though some have been affected by extreme weather such a hurricanes, the effect the DoD’s report will have on the White House and Congress is yet known. The report was delivered to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who called the report “half-baked” and “inadequate.”

“While this climate report acknowledges that nearly all the military installations it studied are vulnerable to major climate change impacts, and provides numerous installation-level examples of those impacts, it fails to even minimally discuss a mitigation plan to address the vulnerabilities,” Smith said. “The Department of Defense presented no specifics on what is required to ensure operational viability and mission resiliency, and failed to estimate the future costs associated with ensuring these installations remain viable. That information was required by law. The Department of Defense must develop concrete, executable plans to address the national security threats presented by climate change. As drafted, this report fails to do that.”

And with Donald Trump calling climate change a “hoax,” it’s unaware how the White House will perceive the report.

But experts concur with the DoD’s assessment. In a statement, The Center for Climate and Security, which is a policy institute comprised of an advisory board made up of retired senior military officers and national security experts, said it “urged policymakers to follow the military’s lead,” according to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


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