After claiming that climate denial in the US “hurts” American soldiers deployed overseas, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says it’s a “problem” that America’s “uniformed military has been reluctant” to engage in the “fight” against climate change. Whitehouse also says that the Navy is “starting to evaluate their base commanders on how well they communicate the risk of climate change”.
SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: “The problem has been that the uniformed military has been reluctant to put its voice into– or its image into this fight. So, you’ve got the civilians, you’ve got the Quadrennial Defense Reviews, you’ve got the intelligence estimates, you’ve got the statements from our head of CINCPAC back when Admiral Locklear that this was the threat in the Pacific more than any other likely to disrupt things in a way that would disturb American interests. But, it’s hard to put a panel of people in uniform in front of the Environmental and Public Works Committee and say, you know, I’m a general, I’m an Admiral, I’m the head of the Marine Corps, we’re telling you–. What the Navy has done that’s been really interesting, Ray Maybus said he’s starting to actually evaluate his– you know, the military lives by evaluation– they’re starting to evaluate their base commanders on how well they communicate the risk of climate change about the base. So, if you’re the base commander of Norfolk, or of Naval Station Newport, or of– what is it, Cherry Creek Marine Air Station in North Carolina– you are suddenly have on your checklist of what you’re evaluated on how well you’ve communicated what the risk of climate change is. And, for those bases, for Navy bases particularly, it’s a really real risk. They’re on the sea. Sea level rise is going to swamp what they do. It’s really practical. So, when people hear it from as trusted a source as a uniformed military officer it will make a big difference, and they have not been very forward about it from the uniform side of the military. DOD has been good. Mabus has been the best.”
Time to Wake Up
Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
June 17, 2016