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Sen. Ed Markey speaks at a press conference.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) speaks at a press conference on funding climate change legislation outside the U.S. Capitol on October 7, 2021. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Markey Amendment Would Redirect 1% of Funds From 'Bloated' Pentagon to Address Climate Crisis

"Increasing military spending as we watch increasing temperatures is not simply ineffective, it is immoral."

Jake Johnson

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts filed an amendment Thursday that would cut the Senate's proposed $768 billion Pentagon budget by 1% and invest the resulting savings in global programs aimed at helping low-income nations build resilience against the climate crisis.

"Unfettered military spending will not protect us from the destruction of the environment and worsening climate chaos."

Markey submitted his amendment as the Senate prepared to begin debate on the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which proposes a total of $778 billion in military spending for the next fiscal year—$37 billion more than the previous NDAA approved under former President Donald Trump.

In a statement, Markey said that "if the United States is serious about ensuring our security, it's critical we provide additional funding for the national security challenge of our time: the climate crisis."

"The Pentagon itself has warned that a failure to arrest the climate the crisis will lead to greater levels of instability, famine, and a spike in climate-displaced persons," said Markey. "Unfettered military spending will not protect us from the destruction of the environment and worsening climate chaos. Increasing military spending as we watch increasing temperatures is not simply ineffective, it is immoral."

Markey was one of just four members of the Senate Democratic caucus to vote against advancing the 2022 NDAA Wednesday night. The three others—Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.)—are co-sponsors of the new amendment, along with Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

Markey's amendment was also endorsed by a number of advocacy organizations, including Win Without War, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Priorities Project, MoveOn, and Demand Progress.

"We need to fund action that will save our people and our planet, not weapons of annihilation."

According to Markey's office, the new amendment would "redirect roughly $7.6 billion from the Department of Defense's budget to fund global climate accounts" and programs including the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility.

In addition to his climate measure, Markey has also introduced an NDAA amendment that would restrict the number of nuclear submarines, land-based ICBMs, air-launched cruise missiles, and B-2 bombers the Defense Department can possess.

"We need to fund action that will save our people and our planet, not weapons of annihilation," Markey said Thursday. "My amendment will help redirect just one percent of funding from our bloated military budget and put it toward world-saving solutions that will drive down global carbon emissions and slow global temperature rise."


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