On Dec. 12, Donald Trump signed the $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 into law. Buried among the purchase approval for 13 new Virginia-class submarines and the demand for a report on expanding and privatizing childcare for service-member families is a lengthy passage defining the government position on climate change vis-à-vis the military. The language runs counter to the Trump administration’s irresponsible actions on the issue to date: repealing environmental regulations, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, and placing climate deniers and skeptics in cabinet positions and other top posts. Is it possible that cooler heads have prevailed?
Section 335 of the act, titled “Report on Effects of Climate Change on Department of Defense,” includes the following declaration: “Climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States and is impacting stability in areas of the world both where the United States Armed Forces are operating today, and where strategic implications for future conflict exist.”