Three C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, sit on the tarmac at Travis Air Force Base, California., on 8 September 2017. They were staging at Travis because of Hurricane Irma. Photo: Louis Briscese / U.S. Air Force

By Tara Copp
13 September 2017

WASHINGTON (Military Times) – The Pentagon has continued to take steps to defend its military bases against extreme weather despite direction from President Donald Trump to stop preparing for climate change.

In March, President Donald Trump rescinded all climate-related federal agency actions directed by President Barack Obama. The Obama-era initiatives that were killed included one that directed the Pentagon to plan for a future where storms, like this week’s Hurricane Irma, are a frequent factor in the Pentagon’s operations.

To meet Obama’s order, the Defense Department published a “climate change roadmap” in 2014 and launched a defensewide review of its installations to identify vulnerabilities.

“A changing climate will have real impacts on our military and the way it executes its missions,” the Defense Department concluded in the 2014 report. “The military could be called upon more often to support civil authorities … in the face of more frequent and more intense natural disasters.”

“Hampton Roads region in Virginia, which houses the largest concentration of U.S. military sites in the world, we see recurrent flooding today, and we are beginning work to address a projected sea-level rise of 1.5 feet over the next 20 to 50 years,” the roadmap concluded.

In January 2016, DoD issued directive 4715.21, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” which among other things implemented the 2014 roadmap.

Yet the 2014 roadmap was invalidated by Trump’s 28 March 2017 executive order, the Pentagon said. It is also now reviewing directive 4715.21, “to determine if it should be suspended, revised, or rescinded,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Evans said.

Still, Trump’s executive order has not stopped the military from preparing for climate change.

The DoD has found space to maneuver by separating the argument of climate change from the threats that more extreme sea states, wind and flooding can generate. Essentially, the DoD is moving forward by leaving the semantics of climate change to others.

“It makes a lot of sense to prepare for a wide variety of natural disasters,” said retired Marine Corps Col. Mark Cancian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Even if there were no climate change, you would want to be ready for hurricanes, you would want to be ready for floods. I think the department is framing it in that context ― just preparing for adverse events.” [more]

Pentagon is still preparing for global warming even though Trump said to stop



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