Despite President's Pullback, Military Persists In Passing Pro-Climate Amendment
Trump's met his match in "Mad Dog" Mattis. This week, the House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act stating that climate change is a "direct threat to the national security and the United States."
Defense Secretary James Mattis called climate change a "driver of instability." Photo credit: AP.
Mattis is no perfect politician, but he stood his ground this week for military climate action. House lawmakers approved a Democratic amendment to a defense bill Wednesday. The amendment defines climate change's threat to military operations and requires a report from the Pentagon to Congress within a year, identifying the ten military installations most vulnerable to climate damage.
A Senate bill with similar language passed last year by Republican Senator John McCain, as seen below.
Such bipartisan progress begs the question: is climate action finally shifting beyond partisanship? The President's recent drawback from the Paris Climate Accord raises red flags. But Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) sees this week's National Defense amendment as a pragmatic and strategic measure. "There are real changes in the Arctic that do affect the Navy," he reported to the Washington Examiner. "The Arctic ice is disappearing, and there are strategic changes that are being implicated here."
Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Va., knows firsthand the vulnerability military bases face with climate change. His district borders Norfolk, Va., where rising seas are already threatening the state's coastal military bases. A recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, published by the Navy Times, validates Rep. McEachin's concerns. Based on their calculations, the report says a three-foot sea level rise would threaten 128 U.S. military bases, valued at roughly $100 billion.