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 TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could 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. LangevinHillicon Valley: House Intel panel will release Russia interviews | T-Mobile, Sprint step up merger push | DHS cyber office hosting webinars on China | Nest warns customers to shore up password security Lawmakers put Pentagon's cyber in their sights Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Trump blasts intel officials as 'passive and naive' | Lawmakers reintroduce Yemen war powers resolution | Dems push Pentagon to redo climate report | VA proposes new rules for private health care MORE (D-R.I.) and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikGOP announces members who will serve on House intel panel Bipartisan House group introduces bills to stall Syria, South Korea troop withdrawals House votes on 10th bill to reopen government 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 MattisOvernight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents Does ‘limited war’ mean limited risks for aggressors? US-led coalition says it struck Syrian mosque used by ISIS 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.