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Flooding of Nebraska Air Force Base Illustrates Security Risk Posed by Climate Change
Flooding at Offutt Air Force Base forced the evacuation of eight planes, including one of four Boeing-made E4-B planes that are supposed to act as an aerial command center if ground bases are destroyed in an emergency like a nuclear attack, Reuters reported. Waters inundated 30 buildings at the base.
"It is extremely clear that we face a grand challenge," Colonel Michael Manion, 55th Wing Commander said in a Facebook post reported by The Verge.
Offutt Base also houses Strategic Command, which is in charge of the nation's nuclear weapons, but its headquarters was on a hill and not impacted by the floods.
The incident comes as the Trump administration is considering forming a panel on whether or not climate change poses a national security risk, which would be headed by staunch climate denier William Happer. The Pentagon already found that climate change posed a threat to military bases in January, and former military and intelligence leaders have written to President Donald Trump urging him not to challenge those findings.
The flooding at Offutt base has prompted further criticisms of Trump's denialism.
"This is an example of a vital threat to our national security from a climate-related disaster, and more of this kind of thing is likely in the future," Center for Climate and Security co-founder Francesco Femia told Reuters, saying the incident showed why Trump should not interfere with military assessments of climate risk.
The Pentagon report released in January did not list flooding as a potential climate risk to Offutt Base. Instead, the report said the base was most likely to be impacted by drought, The Washington Post reported.
Despite this, climate change does make flooding events like the one that swamped the base more likely, as The Washington Post explained:
Warmer temperatures mean more evaporation from soil and more droughts. That moisture, though, goes into the air, which can hold more water as it warms. That leads to bigger, more powerful storms with more precipitation — including in snowstorms. Since 1958, the percentage of days each year in which precipitation has met or exceeded the 99th percentile increased by 29 percent in the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska.
The Nebraska flooding isn't the only extreme weather event to impact military installations in recent years, The Verge pointed out. Last year, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was damaged by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael caused billions of dollars in damage to Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle.
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By Johnny Wood
The Ganges is a lifeline for the people of India, spiritually and economically. On its journey from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, it supports fishermen, farmers and an abundance of wildlife.
The river and its tributaries touch the lives of roughly 500 million people. But having flowed for millennia, today it is reaching its capacity for human and industrial waste, while simultaneously being drained for agriculture and municipal use.
Here are some of the challenges the river faces.
By Jake Johnson
As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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By Sue Branford and Thais Borges
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