Magical Thinking: Trump Will Drop Climate Change As A National Security Threat

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Adam Beitman, 202-670-5585, adam.beitman@sierraclub.org

Magical Thinking: Trump Will Drop Climate Change As A National Security Threat

Change comes despite Trump’s own Defense Secretary, Pentagon, Congress.

WASHINGTON - According to public reports, the Trump administration will drop climate change from a list of global threats in a new National Security Strategy (NSS) to be unveiled Monday. Under the previous administration's NSS, the climate crisis was identified as among the most serious threats facing the nation.

Just last week, Trump signed the the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which says that, “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,”

Previously, Donald Trump’s Secretary of Defense James Mattis has echoed this perspective, noting in written answers to questions posed after his public confirmation hearing that “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today” and that “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”

In 2010, when Mattis was commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, he signed off on the Joint Operating Environment, which lists climate change as one of the security threats the military expected to confront over the next 25 years.

“From economic trends to climate change and vulnerability to cyber attack, we outline those trends that remind us we must stay alert to what is changing in the world if we intend to create a military as relevant and capable as we possess today,” Mattis wrote in his foreword.

The military’s warnings about climate change date back to a 2008 National Intelligence Assessment issued during the Bush Administration which stated that climate change could cause disputes over natural resources as well as mass migrations, both of which could lead to further political instability.

In Response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune Released the following statement:

“Trump is not just ignoring science and public opinion about the dangers of the climate crisis, he’s ignoring American generals and the Pentagon about what it takes to keep our military and our country safe. If we want to keep our country safe, Trump should take military advice from the military, not fossil fuel executives who are pushing to deny climate science and boost their profits at any cost.”

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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