Pentagon chief says climate change threatens security: report

March 16, 2017
"The effects of a changing climate—such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others—impact our security situation," said US Defence Minister James Mattis, according to a ProPublica report

Unlike some in the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis believes climate change is real and that it poses a threat to international security, according to a US media report.

The nonprofit investigative news website ProPublica ran a story Tuesday that included excerpts of written testimony Mattis gave senators after a January confirmation hearing.

"Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today," Mattis reportedly wrote.

"The effects of a changing climate—such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others—impact our security situation," Mattis added.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Drought and famine are phenomena that push instability, and some of the most vulnerable countries are in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

President Donald Trump once claimed that is a Chinese hoax and has said he will roll back American environmental regulations aimed at curbing the problem.

But he also has said he is "open-minded" on the issue.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Trump is set to sign an executive order limiting the role that climate change plays in government decisions, citing an unnamed person familiar with the plan.

Bloomberg said the order could come as soon as this week and would affect decisions ranging from appliance standards to pipeline approvals, and would make it easier to extract and burn coal.

And Trump's Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, sparked outrage when he went against scientific consensus in claiming that rising greenhouse-gas emissions were not a determining factor in climate change.

Mattis has repeatedly taken views diverging from Trump.

For instance, Mattis pushed back on Trump's support for waterboarding, and encouraged the new Republican president to take a more traditional stance on the NATO defense alliance that Trump had criticized.

Mattis has previously said the military needs to slash reliance on fossil fuels and consider using alternative sources of energy where practicable, ProPublica said.

Explore further: Trump to undo Obama auto emissions rules: official

Related Stories

US contributes $500 million to UN Green Climate Fund

January 18, 2017

The outgoing Barack Obama administration announced Tuesday a contribution of half a billion dollars to the UN Green Climate Fund, just three days before Donald Trump takes over the White House.

Recommended for you

Oceans of garbage prompt war on plastics

December 15, 2018

Faced with images of turtles smothered by plastic bags, beaches carpeted with garbage and islands of trash floating in the oceans, environmentalists say the world is waking up to the need to tackle plastic pollution at the ...

A damming trend

December 14, 2018

Hundreds of dams are being proposed for Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia. The negative social and environmental consequences—affecting everything from food security to the environment—greatly outweigh the positive ...

Data from Kilauea suggests the eruption was unprecedented

December 14, 2018

A very large team of researchers from multiple institutions in the U.S. has concluded that the Kilauea volcanic eruption that occurred over this past summer represented an unprecedented volcanic event. In their paper published ...

The long dry: global water supplies are shrinking

December 13, 2018

A global study has found a paradox: our water supplies are shrinking at the same time as climate change is generating more intense rain. And the culprit is the drying of soils, say researchers, pointing to a world where drought-like ...

Death near the shoreline, not life on land

December 13, 2018

Our understanding of when the very first animals started living on land is helped by identifying trace fossils—the tracks and trails left by ancient animals—in sedimentary rocks that were deposited on the continents.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.