On March 26th, the Senate voted on an amendment proposed by Senator Bennet to the budget, a non-binding resolution that sets spending priorities. It passed with 53 votes, including 6 Republicans (Senators Ayotte, Kirk, Collins, Graham, Murkowski, and Portman), and key leaders on climate security, including Senators Bennet, Casey, Warner, and Durbin. The amendment recognized climate change as a threat to national security. It would:
“establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to responding to the economic and national security threats posed by human-induced climate change, as highlighted by the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” S. Amdt. 1014 to S. Con. Res. 11
ASP is a leader in studying the effects of climate change on security. It threatens our food, water, infrastructure, military bases, and more. The ability to fully address the issue will require government recognition of these threats. Senator Bennet, and the bipartisan group of senators who voted in favor of this amendment, are taking a step in bringing the discussion of climate security into the center stage of national security policy.
Climate change by itself presents serious risk to our national security. Rising sea levels threatens our overseas military basing, as well as threatens our coastal infrastructure. Ocean acidification, droughts, diseases, and pests all serve to reduce our food security. The changes in the operational environment that are caused by changes in the climate fundamentally reduce our ability to operate effectively when addressing hard security issues. Climate change acts as a threat multiplier. The conditions which bring instability around the world are made more likely as a result of climate change, and serves to threaten U.S. interests as well as increase the dangers of our operations.
The national security risk that climate change poses is real, and the government must treat it with the same seriousness that it treats other threats to our national security. Recognition of the threat in Congress is important, since the U.S. will need a strategy for addressing climate change in order to truly protect itself.
To learn more about the costs of Climate Change, please visit any of the links below: