The Insider

Bipartisan group of lawmakers urges Trump to view climate change as a national security threat

By Tony Bertuca  
January 12, 2018 at 11:38 AM

A bipartisan group of 106 members of Congress has sent a letter to President Trump urging him to amend the recently released National Security Strategy to include threats posed by climate change.

Though most of the signatures come from Democrats, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the Republican chairwoman of the House Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee, signed the letter.

Rep. James Langevin (D-RI), the subcommittee's top Democrat, also signed the letter, along with Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the full committee's ranking Democrat.

"We write to express our concern regarding your recent National Security Strategy, which fails to recognize climate change as a threat to the United States," the Jan. 11 letter states. "Failing to recognize this threat in your National Security Strategy represents a significant step backwards on this issue and discredits those who deal in scientific fact."

The NSS, meanwhile, frames climate change policy as a potential obstacle to U.S. economic growth.

"Climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system," the strategy states. "U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests."

The lawmakers' letter notes that the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act the president signed in December specifically lists climate change as "a direct threat to the national security of the United States."

The letter also notes that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has testified before Congress that "the effect of a changing climate . . . will impact our security situation."

Mattis is expected to release the National Defense Strategy Jan. 19 and it remains to be seen how that strategy document will view climate change.