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U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flying over Maryland. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) will introduce a resolution on Wednesday calling on the Pentagon to release a report on its annual greenhouse gas emissions, after the agency skipped a July 1 deadline set out in an annual defense spending bill.

Why it matters: The Pentagon has long sounded alarms about climate change posing a national security threat, including in a dire risk assessment released last month. Yet the U.S. military itself remains a massive consumer of fossil fuels — and a larger source of greenhouse gases than many nations.

Details: The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law on Jan. 1 after Congress successfully overrode former President Trump's veto, requires the secretary of defense to submit a detailed report on the Pentagon's greenhouse gas emissions for each of the last 10 years.

  • The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment on why the report was not released within 180 days after the law came into effect, as required.
  • Lee's resolution, backed by environmental and anti-war groups, calls on the Pentagon to set clear emissions reduction targets and commit to verified reporting on emissions from all of its operations.

The big picture: The Pentagon's climate risk assessment warns that the U.S. "must tackle the existential threat of climate change" in order to "keep the nation secure." It was mandated by an executive order President Biden signed in his first week in office seeking to position climate change at the center of U.S. foreign policy and national security.

  • Later this year, the agency is to release an outline for how it plans to reduce emissions. But the Pentagon does not currently release comprehensive data on the military's overall fuel consumption or greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Lee's resolution would not have the force of law like the NDAA provision, but is likely to add political pressure at a time when climate is in the public spotlight with the COP26 summit in Scotland.

Between the lines: "Our view is we should be pushing on an open door here," one Democratic aide told Axios. "We have heard top uniformed and civilian officials from the U.S. military warn time and time again about the national security challenges posed by climate change.

  • "So let's make sure that we have the numbers to be able to look in the mirror about what the institution itself is doing to contribute to that."

Go deeper

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
41 mins ago - Economy & Business

Philanthropy in the age of crypto

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The best charities are increasingly effective. That's the clear message sent by Open Philanthropy, the think tank that doubles as the grant-making vehicle for Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna.

Why it matters: With tech and crypto wealth becoming a fast-growing part of the philanthropic pie, there's more of an emphasis than ever on effectiveness — what the newly-divorced Melinda French Gates, in her recent Giving Pledge update, characterizes as giving as "impactfully as possible."

4 hours ago - Health

Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New data from South Africa suggests the Omicron variant spreads more than twice as quickly as the Delta variant, and that immunity from prior infection doesn't appear to protect a person very well against Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The findings are extremely preliminary, and there are still many open questions about how well vaccines work against the variant. But these initial breadcrumbs of data are helping the world begin to understand what it's up against.