Could Pentagon Give Cover to Conservative Climate Creep?

April 22, 2017

And by Conservative Climate Creep, I don’t mean Lord Monckton.

I mean the slow-walking, foot dragging, nose holding, spinach-eating kabuki theater of  republican legislators, increasingly beset by angry town hall crowds, where climate change has risen to the hot button level of the Affordable Care Act, Trump’s Tax returns, and possible treasonous connections to Russia.

I attended one of these events in my area recently, asked two climate questions myself, and there were several others, and plenty of crowd support in every instance.

The video above is from a correspondent in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where Republican Jack Bergman is forced to confront the Pentagon’s concerns about security risks of climate change.

Pro Publica:

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has asserted that climate change is real, and a threat to American interests abroad and the Pentagon’s assets everywhere, a position that appears at odds with the views of the president who appointed him and many in the administration in which he serves.

In unpublished written testimony provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee after his confirmation hearing in January, Mattis said it was incumbent on the U.S. military to consider how changes like open-water routes in the thawing Arctic and drought in global trouble spots can pose challenges for troops and defense planners. He also stressed this is a real-time issue, not some distant what-if.

“Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” Mattis said in written answers to questions posed after the public hearing by Democratic members of the committee. “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”

Mattis has long espoused the position that the armed forces, for a host of reasons, need to cut dependence on fossil fuels and explore renewable energy where it makes sense. He had also, as commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command in 2010, signed off on the Joint Operating Environment, which lists climate change as one of the security threats the military expected to confront over the next 25 years.

But Mattis’ written statements to the Senate committee are the first direct signal of his determination to recognize climate change as a member of the Trump administration charged with leading the country’s armed forces.

These remarks and others in the replies to senators could be a fresh indication of divisions or uncertainty within President Donald Trump’s administration over how to balance the president’s desire to keep campaign pledges to kill Obama-era climate policies with the need to engage constructively with allies for whom climate has become a vital security issue.

Mattis’ statements on climate change, for instance, recognize the same body of science that Scott Pruitt, the new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, seems dead-set on rejecting. In a CNBC interview last Thursday, Pruitt rejected established science pointing to carbon dioxide as the main driver of recent global warming.

Mattis’ position also would appear to clash with some Trump administration budget plans, which, according to documents leaked recently to The Washington Post, include big cuts for the Commerce Department’s oceanic and atmospheric research — much of it focused on tracking and understanding climate change.

Even setting aside warming driven by accumulating carbon dioxide, it’s clear to a host of experts, including Dr. Will Happer, a Princeton physicist interviewed by Trump in January as a potential science adviser, that better monitoring and analysis of extreme conditions like drought is vital.

Mattis’ statements could hearten world leaders who have urged the Trump administration to remain engaged on addressing global warming. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to meet Trump on Friday.

Below, the scene at a jammed town hall in my own district the other day, for Rep. John Molenaar.

And yes, I did ask some questions, there’s a good story that I’ll tell soon.



12 Responses to “Could Pentagon Give Cover to Conservative Climate Creep?”

  1. when people ask about human caused climate change they have to be prepared for shmucks like this guy framing it to their benefit. the questions need to be posed in a manner in which they can’t weasel out of it if possible. that is difficult because professional politicians are weasels by definition and they hold the high ground on being weasly.

    • indy222 Says:

      Yes exactly. They wouldn’t have gotten to their position without being the Nobel Prize winners of weasle-dom. At that, they are EXPERT.

    • andrewfez Says:

      Shouldn’t be that hard: State the pentagon’s stance on climate change then tie it to ‘supporting the military’: ‘Regarding climate change and renewable energy, and their stance on such, do you support our military?’ Then as they weasel out of the question, it looks like they don’t support the military.

      Some may be savvy enough to try to minimize the stance as just a small constituent of their comprehensive mission then talk about how they love bombing. But they may get caught off guard when trying to weigh the unpopularity of the these overseas wars against the pro-military rhetoric used to sell these wars to the public, and then further weighing these against their climate stance. Or they may be able to just say that even though climate change is a threat multiplier, it’s a small multiplier compared to resource depletion and religious conflict, &c. The question should still be worth a try though.

  2. schwadevivre Says:

    I really should have checked the article before I tweeted my reply …

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    Mattis is a Marine, and we can count on him to demonstrate the Marine Corps values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment, unlike the weasels and pigs like Congressman Bergman, other Repugnants, and the Large Orange POS that stole the election with help from his Russian puppet masters..

    Mattis WILL pay attention to climate change because it DOES represent a real threat to the security of the USA and the functioning of our Defense Department. He will NOT “get in line” with President Pussy Grabber’s ignorant and ideological prattling about climate change because Mattis is a man of honor.

    Mark my words—-it may take a while because the Pussy Grabber’s administration is just spinning its wheels and getting little done, but Mattis’s position on climate change will prevail—-or he will quit (or be fired), and if that happens, his closing remarks will likely be as memorable as the Gettysburg address (and the “private” version to Marines will come close to wearing out the F-word).

    IMO, Mattis took the job NOT because he has any confidence in Trump or believes much of Trump’s BS but because he wants to help save the country from him. If things go as badly as many suspect they will (and if we are writing a movie script), Mattis will be one of the earliest signers of the declaration under Section 4 of the 25th. Amendment

  4. andrewfez Says:

    Earth Day summary of Trump’s anti-environmental policies thus far:

  5. Tom Bates Says:

    When it comes to the :Pentagon, the words of Ike about the dangers of the military industrial complex come to mind. I bet not a single one of you commenters ever bothered to look that up.

    The Pentagon which is really the people who make a living from building arms, the congress people who get campaign cash from those arms builders, the politicians state and local who also benefit from more campaign cash, and the generals never find a cut in the budget beneficial. They always look for a reason, any reason to buy more gold plated toilet seats for the planes, tanks and what ever. Nobody actually thinks of the gunts dying or the taxpayers paying for everything as they do not count.

    When communism was there, that was the menace of the day, when Nazi were there that was the menace of the day, when independence movements threatened the business interest of the USA that was the menace of the day, when the President needed a hand up in an election, a nice handy foreign menace was there. For the last Vietnam was a handy message for Kennedy in the upcoming 1964 elections, never mind the 50,000 dead americans.

    In the current climate , climate change slogans is a handy way to get more money and power, never mind the actual climate change is immaterial. Telling congress the muslims want to blow us up affects votes from muslims and the left, telling congress climate change endangers the USA gets money with no down side from reality. You just have to ignore the actual ocean rise of 3 inches in the next 100 years, a rise in temperature by 2100 of 0.038F from 2000, the increase in antarctic ice, the past temperatures which showed methane is not doomsday and so forth. Look at North Korea, the military industrial complex makes sure we are almost on a war footing so they get more money and power, never mind the North Koreans would not be were they are if the pentagon and the presidents were not constantly threatening to invade.

    The pentagon is a money pit and always has some reason to spend more on them.

    • fjohnx Says:

      The Pentagon finds it easier now to punch through the ice at the North Pole with a nuclear submarine. It is thinner.

    • andrewfez Says:

      Funny how the cost of these wars has turned some Republicans into libertarian pacifists.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      “When it comes to the Pentagon, the words of Ike about the dangers of the military industrial complex come to mind. I bet not a single one of you commenters ever bothered to look that up”—–Bates types that with one hand as he does you-know-what with the other.

      Such is the world of the Dunning-Kruger moron who knows nothing beyond what he reads in the manuals prepared for him by his masters in the denier world—-an arrogant and ignorant belief that only he has the “answers” and “understands”.

      Sorry, Tommy-Poo, but those of us who heard Ike’s farewell address live back in 1961 don’t need to “look it up”—–it is a vivid memory, as is all the debate that it produced then and since. And thank you for the reminder about the importance of the “military industrial complex”, although it is hardly necessary. since those of us who are better educated than you are well aware of what it means (and how it actually began with the “chartered companies” of the colonial powers centuries ago).

      (PS Tommy-Poo is such a flaming anal orifice that he needs to be declared a walking national disaster zone. I wonder if he is responsible for the wildfires in FL? Him walking in the woods and spouting his flaming BS there would do it).

    • schwadevivre Says:

      Tom Bates – Turncoat and idiot

    • Lionel Smith Says:

      When it comes to the :Pentagon, the words of Ike about the dangers of the military industrial complex come to mind. I bet not a single one of you commenters ever bothered to look that up.

      I didn’t need to, not being mentally five years old like you (and PPG) I was already well aware of that. Indeed it is littered through many of the books I have here and have read, e.g. it is often found in books delineating the war on science conducted by the denial brigade of which you don’t even figure as a foot soldier, you are more like one of the barf bags they carry.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: