It's no secret that House Republicans in the pocket of fossil fuel interests and the Koch brothers have vehemently opposed any efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. What is truly astounding is that they would impose their abject denialism upon the U.S. military, and national security be damned.
From Think Progress:
With a mostly party-line vote on Thursday, the House of Representatives passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) that seeks to prevent the Department of Defense from using funding to address the national security impacts of climate change.
the McKinley Amendment
barred the Department of Defense from utilizing the findings of the National Climate Assessment, the Fifth Assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and two other studies to implement its own national security planning. As Salon
puts it, this "renders all the knowledge and understanding [contained within these studies] effectively irrelevant to national defense."
The McKinley amendment was added to the National Defense Authorization Act (the military budget) which later passed the House. Two Hundred and Twenty Seven Republicans and four Democrats voted for this Amendment:
SEC. 318. PROHIBITION ON USE OF FUNDS TO IMPLEMENT
CERTAIN CLIMATE CHANGE ASSESSMENTS AND REPORTS.
None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12 12866.
Speaking on the House Floor in support of his Amendment, McKinley, a West Virginia Republican, called the science behind climate change "ideology," apparently without a trace of irony:
“Climate change alarmists contend that man-made CO2 is the cause of climate change,” he explained on the floor. “Most people may not realize that 96 percent of all the CO2 emissions occur naturally.”
Democrats responded to the attempt to tie the Pentagon's hands in planning ahead for the country's security:
In other words, the House just tried to write climate denial into the Defense Department’s budget. “The McKinley amendment would require the Defense Department to assume that the cost of carbon pollution is zero,” Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Bobby Rush (D-IL) said in a letter to their colleagues before the vote. “That’s science denial at its worst and it fails our moral obligation to our children and grandchildren.”
Salon assistant editor Lindsay Abrams adds some perspective:
This is a problem, because understanding and preparing for climate change is an important thing the Department of Defense needs to be able to do, in order to, you know, defend us. Their words: “DOD expects climate change to challenge its ability to fulfill its mission in the future.” Natural disaster response, increased conflict tied to drought and food and water security and other “non-traditional” security challenges are all things the military’s been actively working to address.
This week the CNA Military Advisory Board issued a sobering report
indicating that climate change is already threatening both our national security and economy. The Board, whose makeup includes 16 former military Generals and Admirals with a combined 580 years of experience, particularly honed in on coastal disruption to US military bases and the destabilizing effects of climate change on geopolitics. Retired Vice Admiral Lee Gunn (President of the CNA's Corp. Institute for Public Research) last week pointed out that the U.S. military is the single largest consumer of oil in the U.S., and highlighted the necessity for the military to transition towards renewable energy in order to improve its operational efficiency and flexibility. In short, climate change is no joke
to the military, nor is there any "debate" about its existence:
Pentagon officials said the report would affect military policy. “The department certainly agrees that climate change is having an impact on national security, whether by increasing global instability, by opening the Arctic or by increasing sea level and storm surge near our coastal installations,” John Conger, the Pentagon’s deputy under secretary of defense for installations and environment, said in a statement. “We are actively integrating climate considerations across the full spectrum of our activities to ensure a ready and resilient force.”
The Senate is likely to reject this Amendment, but the fact that it was made at all shows to what lengths the GOP will go to block all attempts to acknowledge the reality of climate disruption, even if it means threatening the country's safety in order to do so. In many ways this effort to deliberately muzzle the Department of Defense by prohibiting them from relying or acting on certain "forbidden" reports is something akin to book burning on a national scale.
The House Republicans are a clear and present danger to the rest of us, and they need to be called out on it.