Climate Change, National Security, and Domestic Politics

Of all agencies of the US government, perhaps the US military has exhibited the highest level of concern over the potential impact of climate change on its operations. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), issued by the Pentagon in March, described climate change as a “threat multiplier” that will alter global defense priorities and policies into the future. Climate change, the report warned, will force the Pentagon to rethink both its mission and its operations, as problems like delivering humanitarian aid will be exacerbated by climate change.

But yesterday House Republicans approved an amendment to a National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit the Pentagon from using resources to assess the impact of climate change.

Representatives Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) decried the amendment, describing the vote as “science denial at its worst [that] fails our moral obligation to our children and grandchildren.”

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