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Warren releases plan to tackle climate change threats to military

Warren releases plan to tackle climate change threats to military
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSchwarzenegger says he would 'absolutely' help Biden administration Disney chair says he would consider job in Biden administration if asked Despite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill MORE (Mass.) on Wednesday released a plan to prepare the military for climate change, including requiring the Pentagon to achieve net-zero carbon emissions on noncombat bases by 2030.

“In short, climate change is real, it is worsening by the day, and it is undermining our military readiness. And instead of meeting this threat head-on, Washington is ignoring it —  and making it worse,” Warren wrote in a post on Medium.

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“Nibbling around the edges of the problem is no longer enough  —  the urgency of the moment demands more,” she added.

Warren, who unveiled the plan in both the blog post shared by her campaign press office and a bill to be introduced in the Senate this week, has been working to stand out from the 20-plus other Democrats running for president by releasing detailed policy proposals on a number of issues.

On military issues, she previously released a plan to address substandard housing provided by private contractors.

Warren, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has zeroed in on climate change in her questions to witnesses at hearings this year.

Military leadership has for years recognized threats posed by climate change, but their acknowledgment of it has become a touchier subject under President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE, who has often questioned the reality of climate change.

In her Wednesday post, Warren highlighted that Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska have been battered by storms in the last couple of years and require billions of dollars to be rebuilt.

She also cited the military’s characterization of climate change as a “threat multiplier” that exacerbates issues that lead to conflict.

A companion bill to Warren's is being introduced in the House by Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarMaloney to lead Democrats' campaign arm Gallego tapped to run Hispanic Caucus's campaign arm Maloney vows to overhaul a House Democratic campaign machine 'stuck in the past' MORE (D-Texas) with co-sponsorship from Reps. Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE (D-Calf.), Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillCalifornia was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success Republican wins race to maintain California House seat after special election win Katie Hill to launch 'Naked Politics' podcast MORE (D-Calif.), Deb HaalandDebra HaalandHispanic caucus unhappy with transition team treatment of Lujan Grisham OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump admin to sell oil leases at Arctic wildlife refuge before Biden takes office |Trump administration approves controversial oil testing method in Gulf of Mexico | Rep. Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel Progressives urge Haaland for Interior as short list grows MORE (D-N.M.) and Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoCompromise defense bill offers rebuke of Trump's Germany drawdown Gallego tapped to run Hispanic Caucus's campaign arm Congress: Support the ARC Act to prevent amputations MORE (D-Ariz.).

Warren called the “ambitious goal” of achieving net-zero carbon emissions on noncombat bases by 2030 “consistent” with the Green New Deal, a climate plan championed by progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHarry Styles hits back at criticism over wearing dress on Vogue cover 'It's not a slogan': Progressives push back on Obama's comments on 'defund the police' movement Obama says Democrats should make sure Ocasio-Cortez has a platform MORE (D-N.Y.) that has been backed by several Democratic presidential candidates.

In addition to the net-zero goal for the bases, Warren’s plan would require contractors who haven’t achieved net-zero carbon emissions to pay a fee of 1 percent of the value of the contract. The fee would go into a fund to adapt the military to climate change.

The plan would also require the annual Pentagon budget to include dedicated funds to adapt to and mitigate climate change, as well as estimates on the effects of climate change-related events.

She would also create a new position of assistant secretary of Defense for energy and climate resiliency and require an annual report on the effects of climate change on the Pentagon.

Warren also said she plans to invest “billions of dollars” into a new, 10-year research program at the Pentagon focused on microgrids and advanced energy storage.

“We don’t have to choose between a green military and an effective one,” she wrote. “My energy and climate resiliency plan will improve our service members’ readiness and safety, all while achieving cost savings for American taxpayers. Our military understands that, and it’s time our elected leaders did as well. Together, we can work with our military to fight climate change  —  and win.” 

Updated at 12:32 p.m.