The Army is rolling out its strategy to battle climate change, which Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has called an “existential threat” to the nation’s security even as Russia continues massing heavily armed troops along its border with Ukraine.
Pentagon officials blame changing world climate patterns in recent decades for worldwide drought, which directly contributes to food scarcity and instability in some of the world’s most volatile regions. They also insist it increases the risk to U.S. military personnel due to natural disasters and extreme weather.
“The Army must adapt across our entire enterprise and purposefully pursue greenhouse gas mitigation strategies to reduce climate risks,” Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said in a statement. “If we do not take action across, across our installations, acquisition and logistics and training, our option to mitigate these risks will become more constrained with each passing year.”
Under the plan, the Army will achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas pollution by 2030 and reach net-zero emission levels by 2050. Army leaders also will be expected to factor in climate change concerns while planning military strategies or logistics needs.
Under the plan, the Army will field an all-electric non-tactical vehicle fleet by 2035.
The Army annually purchases more than $740 million worth of electricity from the national electric grid. In 2020, it added 4.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide along with methane, nitrous oxide, and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, according to the service’s new strategy, officials said.
The Army says it developed the climate strategy as a “roadmap of actions” that will enhance unit and installation readiness and resilience in the face of climate-related threats. Officials insist they can pursue greener practices in the ranks while retaining the military force to deter enemies and defend the U.S. and its allies abroad
“The Army’s mission remains the same to fight and win this nation’s wars,” Paul Farnan, the Army’s acting assistant secretary for installations energy and environment, told Defense News in an interview this week, “and this strategy is actually going to enhance that ability to do so by increasing the capability of the force.”