National Security Experts Critical of Trump Climate-Change Policy

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Experts say drought linked to climate change has led to instability worldwide, which threatens U.S. national security.


Experts say drought linked to climate change has led to instability worldwide, which threatens U.S. national security.

Experts on national security are speaking out against President Trump’s recent executive orders on climate change.

Trump has begun the process of rescinding the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, and removed a requirement that national-security policymakers plan for climate change. He has said loosening climate regulations will help American companies create jobs.

However, Prof. Nancy Brune at the College of Southern Nevada, a former policy analyst at Sandia Natiopnal Laboratories in New Mexico who also serves on the Truman National Security Project, said the warming climate directly threatens national security – exacerbating desperate situations and promoting instability around the world.

“Warming temperatures and more volatile weather patterns are associated with infrastructure failures such as blackouts, disease outbreaks, escalating tensions around the world over food and water security, and mass migration,” she said.

Brune said the U.S. military regularly responds to climate-related disasters such as Typhoon Haiyen in the Philippines four years ago, which killed 8,000 people. She said drought also contributed to the Syrian civil war by forcing discontented, jobless rural residents into the cities.

Climate Change Impact Already Being Felt

Retired Marine Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney, now chief executive of a think tank known as the American Security Project, said military leaders already are dealing with the effects of climate change.

“Climate change is physically threatening a lot of our bases and stations – most of the ones that are on our coasts, obviously, like Norfolk Naval Station or Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean – which will all eventually go underwater,” he said. “Norfolk’s already starting to go underwater, so these are things they have to adapt, for starters.”

Cheney said he hopes Trump won’t pull out of the Paris Accords on Climate Change. He thinks doing so would cede America’s leadership position to countries such as Russia and China, which have vowed to uphold the treaty. He’s also convinced that energy independence can only be achieved through reduced reliance on imported fossil fuels and an increase in renewable energy.

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