Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren is demanding answers from the Pentagon’s top general on the department’s conclusions on the threat of climate change to the U.S. military.
In a letter to Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Massachusetts Democrat requested answers to an array of questions on how the department is addressing the issue, how the military will try to limit environmental damage and on how forces are adapting overseas to infrastructure changes due to climate change.
“The Department of Defense must do more than simply acknowledge or take piecemeal actions to address climate change while it increasingly threatens and harms our military’s infrastructure and operations,” Ms. Warren wrote. “We must act decisively to prepare for this threat, and our military is as capable as anyone of leading the way.”
Ms. Warren, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has pressed top military leaders on climate change before, and cited testimonies from Air Force, Army and Navy officials in the eight-page letter.
“Each of these military leaders has acknowledged the threat of climate change to our military’s infrastructure and operations, and that adapting to climate change is a factor in military readiness. None has denied the threat of climate change,” she wrote. “This uniformity of opinion among military leaders underscores my concern about the need to act vigorously and expeditiously to mitigate this threat.”
Earlier this year, top House Democrats demanded the Pentagon revise the report on the impact of climate change, and have criticized the January report as “inadequate.”
Lawmakers said military officials failed to present a clear strategy for dealing with such challenges as flooding, drought, desertification, wildfires and thawing permafrost, which are all expected to affect U.S. base operations in the years to come.
The climate report, mandated in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, concluded that virtually every military department is at risk of being affected by changing global climate patterns.
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