Expert Voices

Ignoring climate change only compounds its national security risks

aircraft carriers in port at Norfolk Naval Base
Aircraft carriers in port at Naval Station Norfolk, Virgina, which is prone to floods that have worsened with sea level rise. Photo: MC2 Ernest R. Scott/U.S. Navy/Handout/Navy Media Content Service/Corbis via Getty Images

President Trump’s Defense Department cut all but 1 of 23 mentions of “climate change” from the final draft of a Congressionally mandated report on climate risks — increased flooding, drought, wildfire and extreme temperatures — to U.S. military installations.

Why it matters: This wordsmithing signals to the thousands of men and women in uniform that climate change is not an important issue for them. Refusing to acknowledge climate change in U.S. national security policy doesn’t make the threat any less real — it only impedes the formulation of concrete, necessary plans.