More than 100 lawmakers call on Trump to designate climate change a security threat

More than 100 lawmakers call on Trump to designate climate change a security threat
© Getty Images

A bipartisan group of more than 100 House lawmakers are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE to name climate change a major security threat after he declined to include it in the administration’s  national security strategy.

In a letter sent to the White House Thursday, 106 members, including 11 Republicans, implore Trump to “reconsider this omission.”

“We have heard from scientists, military leaders, and civil personnel who believe that climate change is indeed a direct threat to America’s national security and to the stability of the world at large,” write Reps. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinOvernight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need exit strategy with Iran | McConnell open to vote on Iran war authorization | Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales House passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment MORE (D-R.I.) and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikRising number of GOP lawmakers criticize Trump remarks about minority Dems Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban MORE (R-N.Y.), who co-authored the letter.

ADVERTISEMENT

“As global temperatures become more volatile, sea levels rise, and landscapes change, our military installations and our communities are increasingly at risk of devastation. It is imperative that the United States address this growing geopolitical threat.”

The letter goes on to quote Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Five things to watch for at Defense nominee's confirmation hearing MORE, who said in his confirmation hearing that “the effects of a changing climate ... will impact our security situation.”

Lawmakers even included such warnings in the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, calling climate change “a direct threat to the national security of the United States.” Trump signed the NDAA into law in December.

Leaving out climate change breaks with the Obama administration, which last year said it considers climate change a national security threat.

“Failing to recognize this threat in your National Security Strategy represents a significant step backwards on this issue and discredits those who deal in scientific fact,” the letter states.

Langevin in July offered an amendment to the NDAA that would require the Pentagon to conduct a study on the impact of climate change on U.S. military installations and to report to Congress the installations most vulnerable to a changing climate. 

The language made it in to the final bill, and requires Mattis to submit to Congress “a report on the vulnerability to military installations and combatant commander requirements resulting from climate change over the next 20 years.”

But Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said last month that the National Defense Strategy, which marks the direction and priorities for the Pentagon, will not mention climate change.

“We don't specifically address climate change. ... There is only so much, you know, depth and breadth. ... It really reflects the high priorities of the department,” Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon.