Rep. Lynch Introduces Climate Change National Security Strategy Act

Jun 15, 2017 Issues: Energy & Environment, National Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this month that he would abandon the Paris Climate Agreement, just months after President Trump rescinded President Barack Obama’s “Climate Change and National Security” memorandum, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston), the lead Democrat on the National Security Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 2908, the Climate Change National Security Strategy Act of 2017.  In light of President Trump’s actions as well as the current and potential impact of climate change on national security, H.R. 2908 ensures that the Federal Government appropriately considers climate change in the development of national security strategies and policies.

“From outgoing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and current Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, national security officials have widely recognized the risk climate change poses to human security, both in the United States and abroad. A comprehensive, coordinated strategy among stakeholders at all levels is critical if the United States is serious about strengthening our national security and mitigating risks posed by the impacts of climate change. Congress must swiftly take action to clearly demonstrate that President Trump’s recent abdication of leadership is unacceptable and risks irreparable damage to future generations,” said Congressman Lynch. “The Climate Change National Security Strategy Act of 2017 calls on the Federal Government to step up and lead the fight against the greatest global threat facing the earth. Without action, the effects of global climate change will exacerbate geopolitical instability and threaten to displace millions of people across the world,” Congressman Lynch added.

On June 1st, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. On March 28th, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, which rescinded the September 2016 directive issued by President Obama entitled “Climate Change and National Security.” The Obama directive set forth as federal policy a commitment to ensuring that the Federal Government identifies and considers the wide-ranging impact of climate change in the development of relevant national security doctrines, policies, and plans. The memorandum also established a “Climate and National Security Working Group” and required federal agencies to develop implementation plans to mitigate the effect of climate change on their national security missions. As reported by the Washington Post, this directive marked the first time that U.S. security agencies were required to consider climate change in the formulation of national security doctrine. 

In order to prevent irreparable damage from President Trump’s attempts to remove the U.S. from a global leadership role on climate change, H.R. 2908, the Climate Change National Security Strategy Act of 2017, restores the core directives on national security and climate change included in President Obama’s September 2016 memorandum. In particular, the bill requires the Federal Government to consider the impacts of climate change in the development of relevant national security policies. In addition, the bill requires the establishment of a “Climate and National Security Working Group” made up of intelligence, defense, security, and other agency officials authorized to examine and develop an action plan on climate change and national security. Furthermore, the bill requires federal agencies to develop corresponding plans to address the impact of climate change on their national security missions and to update these plans at least annually. 

H.R. 2908, the Climate Change National Security Strategy Act of 2017, is cosponsored by 26 Members of Congress, including Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D-MD), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-MA), Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), Rep. Hakeem S. Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Rep. Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA), Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-IL), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Rep. Alan S. Lowenthal (D-CA).

The text of H.R. 2908, the Climate Change National Security Strategy Act of 2017, is available here