Trump: Climate Change Created by the Chinese? Not According to Mattis

Defense Secretary James Mattis believes, unlike the President, that climate change is real & poses a serious threat to American interests.

Providing written answers to questions from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary Mattis stated his belief that it was imperative that the United States Military to consider the strategic challenges posed for troops and defense planners by the changing environment. Such issues as new water routes in the thawing Arctic as well as drought in global trouble spots.

“Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” Mattis said. “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”

Mattis’ written statements to the Senate committee are the first direct signal of his determination to recognize climate change as a member of the Trump administration charged with leading the country’s armed forces.

The statements provided by Mattis seem to signal his willingness to acknowledge climate change, which has been a rarity among members of Trump's cabinet. His statements indicate a pragmatic willingness to recognize the body of science that Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA, seems hell-bent on denying.

In a baffling interview with CNBC last week, Pruitt threw established science to the curb by claiming that carbon dioxide was not a main contributor to climate change.

Mattis’ comments seem to conflict with administration budget plans which, according to recent reporting by the Washington Post, include massive cuts for oceanic & atmospheric research - key to our understanding of climate change.

Here are just a few of the climate questions from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, with General Mattis’ replies:

Shaheen: “I understand that while you were commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command you signed off on a document called the Joint Operating Environment, which listed climate change as one of the security threats the military will face in the next quarter-century. Do you believe climate change is a security threat?”

Mattis: “Climate change can be a driver of instability and the Department of Defense must pay attention to potential adverse impacts generated by this phenomenon.”

Shaheen: “General Mattis, how should the military prepare to address this threat?”

Mattis: “As I noted above, climate change is a challenge that requires a broader, whole-of government response. If confirmed, I will ensure that the Department of Defense plays its appropriate role within such a response by addressing national security aspects.”

Replying to another question, Mattis said:

“I agree that the effects of a changing climate — such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others — impact our security situation. I will ensure that the department continues to be prepared to conduct operations today and in the future, and that we are prepared to address the effects of a changing climate on our threat assessments, resources, and readiness.”

Thank you, Secreatary Mattis, for being a voice of reason in this administration regarding climate change.

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