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President Just Signed Bill That Says Climate Change a National Security Risk, But Does He Know That?

By Angela Ledford Anderson

President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law Tuesday. The act would require the Pentagon to do a report on how military installations and overseas staff may be vulnerable to climate change over the next 20 years.


The following language was included in the act:

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.

Does President Trump know that with a stroke of his pen he just confirmed what climate scientists and military officials have been saying for years: Climate change is a major threat to U.S. national security and our armed forces overseas?

The reality is that climate change couldn't care less about political party affiliation, which is why legislators on both sides of the aisle—especially those on the frontlines of climate change impacts—fought to retain this language in the final bill.

While this move is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak Congress, we need to do much, much more to support local and state governments in their efforts to combat climate change. And certainly more needs to be done to convince the president of the scientific truths of climate change and the importance of acting sooner rather than later on the risks it poses.

Check out a recent blog from Union of Concerned Scientists President Ken Kimmell for more information on this act.

To examine a recent Union of Concerned Scientists report highlighting the vulnerability of coastal military bases in the U.S. to sea level rise and storm surge, click here.

Angela Ledford Anderson is the director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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