Dec 21, 2017

Trump’s National Security Strategy has a climate blind spot

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

According to Trump's National Security Strategy, climate policies will "continue to shape the global energy system" but climate change doesn't pose an explicit national security threat.

This omission is hard to square with the Defense Department's recognition of climate as a "threat multiplier" that will exacerbate global droughts, flooding and migration and the calls on the U.S. military that accompany these destabilizing events.

The NSS is at also odds with the bipartisan defense authorization bill's warnings on climate change. An amendment acknowledges the human role in climate change and mandates that the Pentagon report on resulting "vulnerabilities to military installations" and other operational risks. It quotes military leaders, including Defense Secretary Mattis, who recognize climate change as a national security risk, and lays out the material stakes in stark terms. In the Marshall Islands, for example, "an Air Force radar installation built on an atoll at a cost of $1,000,000,000 is projected to be underwater within two decades."

Why it matters: Dollars should continue to flow to reinforce military bases facing coastal erosion, anticipate climate-driven threats and invest in technologies to liberate soldiers from vulnerable fossil fuel supply chains. If that funding stops, there will be more to worry about than a few words missing from a strategy document.

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  3. Federal government latest: Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship — Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill.
  4. Business latest: America's food heroes in times of the coronavirus crisis. Even when the economy comes back to life, huge questions for airlines will remain.
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  6. Wisconsin primary in photos: Thousands gathered to cast ballots in-person during the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
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Airline industry braces for a forever-changed world

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The airline industry got a $58 billion lifeline in the coronavirus federal aid package. But the path is unclear for these companies, whose operations and prospects will be forever changed by the global pandemic.

Why it matters: People may want to minimize travel for the foreseeable future. Investors, analysts and industry watchers are trying to determine how much airlines will need to spend — and how much more in lost revenue they'll see — while they adapt to the new reality.

Trump denies seeing Navarro memos warning about toll of coronavirus

President Trump said at a press briefing Tuesday that he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning in January and February that the coronavirus crisis could kill more than half a million Americans and cost close to $6 trillion.

Why it matters: Trump insisted that despite not seeing the memos, he did "more or less" what Navarro suggested by banning non-U.S. citizens from traveling from China effective Feb. 2.