GOP platform slams military's focus on climate change

The official Republican platform takes aim at Obama administration military planning documents that emphasize the security risks of climate change, alleging they reveal a White House that has strayed from core defense priorities.


The GOP platform, which delegates to the party’s convention in Tampa, Fla., endorsed Tuesday, includes several criticisms of the White House National Security Strategy released in 2010. Among them:

[T]he strategy subordinates our national security interests to environmental, energy, and international health issues, and elevates “climate change” to the level of a “severe threat” equivalent to foreign aggression. The word “climate,” in fact, appears in the current President’s strategy more often than Al Qaeda, nuclear proliferation, radical Islam, or weapons of mass destruction.

But defense analysts say that climate change presents security risks by creating conflicts over affected resources and other challenges.

“The danger from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of land across the globe,” the 2010 White House security strategy states.

It commits the United States to confronting climate change based on “clear guidance from the science, and in cooperation with all nations.”

Other defense planning documents also link climate change to national security. The Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review issued in early 2010 cites an array of challenges throughout the document.

“While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world. In addition, extreme weather events may lead to increased demands for defense support to civil authorities for humanitarian assistance or disaster response both within the United States and overseas,” it states.

The document notes other types of climate challenges. For instance, it cites estimates that more than two dozen U.S. military installations face elevated risk from rising sea levels.

The GOP platform also calls on Congress to block the Environmental Protection Agency from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations, alleging they will harm the economy. More on that here.