- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Military leaders will now factor in the impact of climate change in any future operations, following President Biden’s direction to include climate considerations as an essential element of national security, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement that he “fully supports” the president’s decision and noted that the Department of Defense has acknowledged climate change’s impact on missions, plans and military installations.

“Every year, our commanders and their allies and partners conduct operations that result from instability in societies strained by desertification, the threat of adversary access to homelands through the Arctic and the demands for humanitarian assistance worldwide,” Mr. Austin said.

In 2019, the Department of Defense said 79 U.S. military installations throughout the world had been impacted by climate change.

“We know first-hand the risk that climate change poses to national security because it affects the work we do every day,” Mr. Austin said.

The department will incorporate climate risk analysis into the next National Defense Strategy. By changing the military’s approach to its own carbon footprint, it can be a platform for positive change by spurring the development of climate-friendly technologies at scale, Mr. Austin said.

“There is little about what the Department (of Defense) does to defend the American people that is not affected by climate change,” he said. “It is a national security issue, and we must treat it as such.”

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