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House bans Pentagon from preparing for climate change

Representatives: Amendment “is science denial at its worst and it fails our moral obligation to our children and grandchildren.”
By JC Sevcik   |   May 23, 2014 at 7:24 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 23 (UPI) -- The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines Thursday to approve an amendment to the $600 billion National Defense Authorization Act which prohibits the Pentagon from using any of its budget to address climate change and specifically instructs the Department of Defense to ignore the latest scientific reports on the threats posed by global warming.

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. David McKinley, a Republican whose home state of West Virginia's economy is heavily leveraged in coal mining, reads:

None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation's Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order.

The data the amendment is forcing the Pentagon to ignore are the most recent and comprehensive reports on the dangers the United States faces as a consequence of climate change.

John Holdren of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said. "Climate change is not a distant threat -- It already is affecting every region of the country and key sectors of the economy."

These reports warn that extreme conditions brought on by global warming will pose security threats as the resulting shortage of resources could lead to conflict.

"In Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, we are already seeing how the impacts of extreme weather, such as prolonged drought and flooding -- and resulting food shortages, desertification, population dislocation and mass migration, and sea level rise -- are posing security challenges to these regions' governments. We see these trends growing and accelerating," reads a report from the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board .

The Pentagon itself in its later 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review said: "Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating."

In a letter to the House before Thursday's vote, Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman and Bobby Rush wrote the "McKinley amendment" is "science denial at its worst and it fails our moral obligation to our children and grandchildren."

The bill passed Friday and will now be heard by the Democratic-controlled Senate where it could be voted down.

Follow @JCSevcik and @UPI on Twitter.
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