Watchdog: Pentagon Taking Few Steps To Prepare Overseas Bases For Climate Change

2017-12-15T13:16:38+00:00 December 15, 2017|

The Pentagon has taken few steps to prepare its overseas installations for climate change, a government watchdog said Wednesday.

(From The Hill/ By Rebecca Kheel) — “While the military services have begun to integrate climate change adaptation into installations’ plans and project designs, this integration has been limited,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report released to the public on Wednesday. “For example, only about one-third of the plans that GAO reviewed addressed climate change adaptation.”

During the Obama administration, the Pentagon issued directives for the military to adapt to climate change, which it labeled a national security threat.

 Defense Secretary James Mattis has also called climate change a national security threat, telling Congress during his confirmation process that “a changing climate — such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others — impact our security situation.”

But President Trump has suggested that climate change is a “hoax” and has taken steps to reverse former President Obama’s actions on climate change, such as withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

In a response to the GAO report, the Pentagon said it continues to take steps to ensure infrastructure is “fully resilient” for a “wide range of scenarios” and pledged to be prepared “to address the effects of a changing climate on our threat assessments, resources and readiness.”

“The department is currently reviewing guidance, including DoD Directive 4715.21, to focus on building resilience into our infrastructure,” Lucian Niemeyer, assistant secretary of Defense for energy, installations and environment, wrote in a response included in the report, referring to an Obama administration Pentagon directive on climate change. “As we assess these policy documents, we continue to work across the military department to incorporate resilience into planning and guidance.”

But the Pentagon also took issue with the GAO’s descriptions of its policies and effects of climate change.

“The draft report states in numerous cases a Department of Defense (DOD) position or policy that is neither current nor accurate,” the response said. “Ascribing infrastructure damage specifically to climate change impacts without taking into account the effects of extreme weather events is speculative at best and misleading.”

In the report, GAO said individual weather events provide insight into how climate change might affect the Pentagon.

“In previous work examining climate change impacts on DOD infrastructure, we found that…

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