Since Mr. Trump was elected, he has done everything in his power to deny that climate change exists and put destructive environmental policies into place. Trump’s appointment of former Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt as director of the EPA marked a devastating shift for the country although he resigned in July 2018 after months of ethics controversies.
Most recently, in February, the White House devised a plan to take down the scientific consensus on climate change, which is that the burning of fossil fuels is a main driver of climate change and poses increasingly serious economic and health threats to the United States and the world.
On Monday though, it was reported that several agencies have informed the National Security Council that they likely will not take part in the initiative. According to The Washington Post:
‘Others, including some spearheading the government’s climate research, such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, say that no one has contacted them about it. And last week, four top U.S. military officials testified before Congress that they continue to see climate change as a significant security threat.’
The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday devoted to the topic and among those invited to attend are former secretary of state John F. Kerry and former defense secretary Chuck Hagel.
According to Jon Powers, an Iraq War veteran who served as federal chief sustainability officer, and is now the president and chief executive of the investment firm CleanCapital:
‘People are acting on climate not for political reasons, but [because] it really affects their mission. With the military, it’s now ingrained in the culture and mission there, which I think is the biggest change over the last 10 years.’
Trump administration officials are still considering establishing a federal advisory panel, which would allow them to appoint outsiders to scrutinize government findings.
The Post reported:
‘For months, White House officials have looked for ways to question the scientific underpinnings of climate change and whether the issue actually presents an imminent national security threat.’
This idea has been around since the early months of the Trump administration when then-EPA Chief Scott Pruitt suggested the idea of conducting a “red team-blue team” exercise on climate change.
Since Dr. William Happer joined Trump’s national security staff as NSC senior director last fall, the whole idea is being revived. Happer, a Princeton professor and physics scientist, went to the White House 25 years ago and told Gore’s staff he saw no evidence that the ozone hole actually was hurting anyone.
According to The Washington Post:
‘Speaking before the Senate Armed Forces Committee on Thursday, Gen. David L. Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, cited the conflict in Syria as an example of how climate change’s impact is already destabilizing some nations. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) asked about recent comments made by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.’
‘Most don’t remember what caused the Syria conflict to start. It started because of a 10-year drought.
‘I think what . . . Chairman Dunford was talking about was that we have to respond militarily very often to the effects of, globally, of climate change.’
Defense Department spokesman Johnny Michael said in an email:
‘What I can tell you is that the effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to [Defense Department] missions, operational plans and installations.
‘The Pentagon “will focus on ensuring it remains ready and able to adapt to a wide variety of threats — regardless of the source — to fulfill our mission to deter war and ensure our nation’s security.”’
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