Top admiral nominee: Climate change ‘going to be a problem’ for Navy

The admiral nominated to be the Navy’s next top officer on Tuesday said that climate change is “going to be a problem” for the military branch, adding that the service is working on a plan to prepare bases for issues such as rising waters.

“We are developing a plan for greater resiliency, especially in areas where we have shipyards and communities that share water space, share waterfront,” Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

{mosads}“We are largely a waterfront service, so climate change when there’s rising waters are going to be a problem for us if we don’t address them. So we are in the planning stages to look at how to reinforce those areas.”

Moran was testifying at his confirmation hearing to be the next chief of naval operations.

The Pentagon recently submitted two reports to Congress on climate change as part of a mandate in the annual defense policy bill.

The first report called climate change a “national security issue” and found that more than two-thirds of operationally critical military installations are threatened by the effects of climate change over the next 20 years.

Democrats slammed that report as lacking elements required by the National Defense Authorization Act, such as a list of the 10 installations from each military service most vulnerable in the next 20 years, specific mitigation measures to alleviate climate risks at installations and cost estimates for such efforts.

So the Pentagon sent Congress a second report last month with the list of bases most at risk from climate change threats within the next 20 years. Democrats were equally unsatisfied with the second report, saying the methodology is opaque and a cost assessment is still missing.

Speaking alongside Moran, Marines Corps Gen. David Berger, who has been nominated to be the service’s next commandant, said he agreed with the admiral’s assessment.

“The two biggest challenges are the rising water levels and the severe storms that roll up the coast and through our bases and stations,” Berger said.

Marines Corps bases such as Camp Lejeune were recently hammered by hurricanes Florence and Michael.

Berger said new construction standards will be “absolutely critical” as the Marines rebuild the storm-battered bases.

“When we recover from a storm like we are now in North Carolina, we need to look at the location of the buildings,” he said. “We need to look at the construction standards of the buildings to make sure that they’ll serve what the climate is going to throw at them.”

Military leadership has for years recognized threats posed by climate change, but their acknowledgment of it has become a touchier subject under President Trump.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the reality of climate change, such as saying in November that “I don’t believe it” about his own government’s National Climate Assessment.

Tags Climate change Donald Trump Naval bases Navy Senate Armed Services Committee

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