Trump’s Climate Change Order Will Undermine National Security

President Trump will sign an executive order that drastically rolls back President Obama’s efforts to slow the pace of climate change by “reversing major rules that aim to restrict greenhouse-gas emissions while simultaneously instructing departments to ignore or downplay the risks of climate change in their decision-making.”

While the order will wipe out Obama’s climate progress, benefit big polluters, endanger our health, and relinquish American leadership on climate issues, there are also big national security implications:

SAMPLE TWEETS

Trump’s own Defense Secretary thinks the US should cut its reliance on fossil fuels http://politi.co/2gVoJSL #DefendClimate

Burning more fossil fuels = climate change = more conflict = more refugees http://to.pbs.org/1PekNFM http://bit.ly/1mfFpHd #DefendClimate

RESOURCES AND MESSAGING

Trump’s Defense Secretary Gen. Jim Mattis said the U.S. military needs to cut its reliance on fossil fuels, and that climate change is a threat to U.S. interests abroad.

  • Mattis is famous for once urging researchers to “unleash” the U.S. military “from the tether of fuel” and that the military’s vast demand for fossil fuels is a “limiting factor.” [Source; Source]
  • “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” Mattis said in written testimony to Congress during his confirmation hearing. “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.” [Source]

Climate change fuels conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

  • “The Pentagon recognizes global warming as a significant strategic threat, saying that it could it could cause ‘instability in other countries by impairing access to food and water, damaging infrastructure, spreading disease, uprooting and displacing large numbers of people, compelling mass migration, interrupting commercial activity, or restricting electricity availability.’ Further, the U.S. military fears such disruptions could ‘create an avenue for extremist ideologies and conditions that foster terrorism.’” [Source]

Scientists say climate change increases the risk of war.

  • “Heatwaves, droughts and other severe weather events are increasing the risk of wars breaking out across the world, scientists say they have proved. The researchers carried out a statistical analysis of the outbreak of armed conflicts and climate-related natural disasters between 1980 and 2010. Their findings – that nearly one in four conflicts in ethnically divided countries coincided with ‘climatic calamities’ – suggest that war should be added to the usual list of problems likely to be caused by global warming, such as sea level rise, crop failures, water shortages and floods.” [Source]

Climate change will exacerbate refugee crises around the world.

  • Between 50 million and 200 million people — mainly subsistence farmers and fishermen — could be displaced by 2050 because of climate change, according to estimates by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security and the International Organization for Migration. [Source]
  • The latest figures from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre 2015 report show that more than 19 million people from 100 countries were forced to flee their homes in 2014 because of natural disasters. [Source]