The incoming Trump administration needs to take climate change seriously as a threat to the national security of the United States, a respected bipartisan think tank argues in a briefing book it has offered the president-elect’s transition team.
The Center for Climate and Security, a “voluntary, nonpartisan group of 43 U.S.-based senior military, national security, homeland security, and intelligence experts, including the former commanders of the U.S. Pacific and Central commands,” warns the incoming president that climate change “presents a significant and direct risk to U.S. military readiness, operations ,and strategy, and should transcend politics,” Erika Bolstad writes in a report for E&E News [subscription], republished in Scientific American.
- Concise headlines. Original content. Timely news and views from a select group of opinion leaders. Special extras.
- Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
- The Weekender: The climate news you need.
“Stresses from climate change can increase the likelihood of international or civil conflict, state failure, mass migration, and instability in strategically significant areas around the world, the defense experts argue,” echoing previous assessments.
The experts present Trump’s team with recommendations developed earlier this year that “go beyond protecting military bases from sea level rise,” Bolstad writes. “They urge Trump to order the Pentagon to game out catastrophic climate scenarios, track trends in climate impacts, and collaborate with civilian communities.”
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama instructed every branch of the U.S. federal government to take climate change into account in its planning. Republicans in the House of Representatives responded by passing defence spending bills that forbade the Pentagon from “spend[ing] money on efforts to combat climate change, including green fuel projects,” Bolstad notes.