GOP-majority Congress affirms that climate change is "security threat"

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) had pitched the study-quashing amendment. He argued that numerous other agencies are studying climate change and that "this should not be the priority" for the military.
By Mae Owen | Jul 18, 2017
The House voted Thursday to give the green light to a Department of Defense study on the long-term impact of climate change on national security. The vote struck down an amendment to the 2018 national defense-authorization bill that would have eliminated the study from authorized defense expenditures.
The majority voting for killing the amendment and preserving the study included 46 Republicans and 188 Democrats, for a 234-185 majority vote.
Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) had pitched the study-quashing amendment. He argued that numerous other agencies are studying climate change and that "this should not be the priority" for the military.
Other GOP lawmakers disagreed. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) countered that climate change is a source of "geopolitical instability" and that it will "degrade the security of the United States" if left unchecked.
"We would be remiss in our efforts to protect our national security to not fully account for the risk climate change poses to our bases, our readiness and to the fulfillment of our armed services mission," she said.
The Pentagon has warned for more than a decade that rising sea levels threaten more than a hundred U.S. defense installations around the world. Military installations are already dealing with hundreds of floods a year, and a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists forecasts that more than a hundred could be mostly underwater by 2100.
Defense Secretary Jerome Mattis is on the record as supporting action on climate change, as well. In his Senate confirmation hearing in January, he described global warming as "a driver of instability" that requires a "whole-of-government response."
But Thursday's vote marked a rare instance in which the GOP-majority Congress affirmed climate change's potential harms, as well.

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