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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

Jan 14, 2022 - Podcasts

Biden's epic failures

President Biden hasn’t been seeing a lot of wins lately. We’re almost a year into Biden’s presidency, and Republicans, moderate and liberal Democrats all seem to be at odds with his agenda.

  • Plus, curbing carbon emissions by changing how planes land.

Guests: Axios' Mike Allen, Margaret Talev, and Andrew Freedman.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Julia Redpath, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Sabeena Singhani and Alex Sugiura. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper:

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 14, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Biden's latest Fed pick signals brewing climate battles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's plan to tap Sarah Bloom Raskin as top banking regulator at the Federal Reserve could intensify the central bank's already growing focus on climate change.

Catch up fast: The news broke Thursday night that Biden will nominate Raskin, a Duke University law professor, for the powerful role of vice chair for supervision.

The most startling facts in 2021 climate report

An unsettling part of the human condition today is that the year you were born will most likely be the coolest year of your life, globally speaking.

By the numbers: Newly released climate data from NOAA, NASA and Berkeley Earth show that the planet has had an unbroken streak of 45 years of warmer than average temperatures.