Pentagon removes numerous climate change references from Obama-era report

Pentagon removes numerous climate change references from Obama-era report
© Getty Images

The Pentagon reportedly removed numerous references to climate change from a report about U.S. military installations, de-emphasizing the Department of Defense's (DOD) focus on preparing for the effects of rising temperatures and sea levels.

An unpublished draft of a DOD report obtained by The Washington Post shows that a final version, which was presented to Congress in January, was missing several references to climate change as well as other key data.

ADVERTISEMENT

In particular, maps detailing "those sites that indicated possible effects could occur due to increased mean sea level between 0-3 feet” were left out, the newspaper noted. 

Other references to climate change were changed to "extreme weather," "climate" or were deleted entirely, it added. One passage describing how storms are "made more destructive by a reduction in sea ice and an increase in ice free periods" was removed completely from the final document.

“The wordsmithing, not saying ‘climate,’ I could live with that,” retired Navy Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn told the Post. McGinn served as assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment under the Obama administration.

“But taking out … maps of critical areas of flooding, that’s pretty fundamental," he said. "And the Arctic, that’s huge, for a lot of reasons, not just for Department of Defense, but for the Coast Guard, and commercial shipping business.”

A Pentagon spokeswoman wouldn't comment on the changes to the report in a statement to the Post, but stated that preparing for the impacts of climate change remains a priority.

“As highlighted in the report, the effects of climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to missions, operational plans, and installations,” Heather Babb said. “DOD continues to focus on ensuring its installations and infrastructure are resilient to a wide range of threats, including climate. The Department has a proven record of planning and preparing for such threats.”