The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Pentagon: Climate Change Is Real and a 'National Security Issue'
The 22-page analysis states plainly: "The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense (DoD or the Department) missions, operational plans, and installations."
The DoD said it is working with other nations "to understand and plan for future potential mission impacts," adding that this is a "global issue."
The report, titled Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense, reveals that two-thirds of the 79 mission-essential military installations that were reviewed are vulnerable to current or future recurrent flooding, more than half are vulnerable to current or future drought, and about half are exposed to wildfires. Six sites are also facing desertification and one is vulnerable to thawing permafrost.
Mother Jones' Dan Spinelli reported, Marine Corps bases were left out of the report entirely, even though sites such as Camp Lejeune in North Carolina were devastated by Hurricane Florence in September.
Despite the severity of the warning, it's not clear how much of a ripple this document will actually make in Washington. First of all, President Trump thinks global warming is a "hoax" and rejected his own government's report in November that warned climate change could kill thousands of Americans each year and slash the GDP by more than 10 percent by 2100. Trump's national security strategy also reversed an Obama-era declaration that placed climate change as a major threat facing the nation.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) slammed the Pentagon's report, calling it half-baked" and "inadequate" for not mentioning any specifics on how the military will respond to climate threats.
"While this climate report acknowledges that nearly all the military installations it studied are vulnerable to major climate change impacts, and provides numerous installation-level examples of those impacts, it fails to even minimally discuss a mitigation plan to address the vulnerabilities," Smith said in a joint press release with Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.).
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Ethics investigations have been opened into the conduct of senior Trump appointees at the nation's top environmental agencies.
The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials' former clients or employers.
"This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone," Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. "When people come to work for government, they're supposed to work on behalf of the public. It's a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients."
By Dipika Kadaba
We've known for more than 50 years that smoking cigarettes comes with health hazards, but it turns out those discarded butts are harmful for the environment, too. Filtered cigarette butts, although small, contain dozens of chemicals, including arsenic and benzene. These toxins can leach into the ground or water, creating a potentially deadly situation for nearby birds, fish and other wildlife.
By Wenonah Hauter
Five years ago this week, an emergency manager appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made the devastating decision to save money by switching Flint's water supply over from Detroit's water system to the Flint River. Seen as a temporary fix, the new water supply was not properly treated. High levels of lead leached from the old pipes, poisoning a generation of Flint's children, and bacteria responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease killed more than a dozen residents.
Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.