Pentagon Has Bad News About Its Bases

20 January 2019

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USA – (Newser) – A new Pentagon report says wildfires, drought, and flooding fueled by climate change are threatening two-thirds of key US military bases, the Military Times reports. Posted online Friday, the report looks at 79 mission-critical installations across the Army, Air Force, and Navy, but not the Marine Corps. The report says recurrent flooding threatens 53 of the 79 bases, while drought is affecting 43 and wildfires 36; other bases are projected to face similar threats in the future. “It is relevant to point out that ‘future’ in this analysis means only 20 years in the future,” the report says, per Politico. “Projected changes will likely be more pronounced at the mid-century mark; vulnerability analyses to mid- and late-century would likely reveal an uptick in vulnerabilities (if adaptation strategies are not implemented).”

Critics are slamming the report for lacking legally required specifics like cost estimates for base upgrades; they’re also asking why Marine Corps bases were left out. “The report reads like an introductory primer and carries about as much value as a phonebook,” says Sen. Jack Reed. The Pentagon says its goal was to focus on installations where current US missions are most jeopardized: “By using this alternative approach, we are able to highlight where there are operational risks,” per a Pentagon spokeswoman. Either way, Vox says the report—which echoes earlier Pentagon warnings about climate change threatening US military effectiveness—will likely have little impact under “climate change skeptics” like President Trump and Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jim Inhofe. (For more climate news, see the latest ocean measurements.)

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