An open letter to Donald Trump regarding his latest executive action. Mr. Trump: Your executive action to repeal the Clean Power Plan (to reduce power plant carbon emissions to 32 percent of 2005 levels over the next 25 years) is ill-considered, at odds with national security concerns and at odds with “making America great.” What could be more unpatriotic and antithetical to our basic national values, committed as we have been for decades to protecting the essence of our homeland — its environment? What could be more unpatriotic than walking away from global leadership on an issue that our Department of Defense regards as a very serious national security threat?
In a 2015 report titled “National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks and a Changing Climate” (archive.defense.gov/pubs/150724-congressional-report-on-national-implications-of-climate-change.pdf?source=govdelivery), the Defense Department stated that “DoD recognizes the reality of climate change and the significant risk it poses to U.S. interests globally. The National Security Strategy, issued in February 2015, is clear that climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security. “The report further states that “The Department of Defense sees climate change as a present security threat, not strictly a long-term risk.
“We are already observing the impacts of climate change in shocks and stressors to vulnerable nations and communities, including in the United States … Although climate-related stress will disproportionately affect fragile and conflict-affected states, even resilient, well-developed countries are subject to the effects of climate change in significant and consequential ways.”
On Sept. 14, 2016, The Guardian quoted retired Rear Adm. David Titley, who said that “climate risks are accelerating in their likelihood and severity. The next administration, whomever is elected, has the duty and obligation as commander-in-chief to manage this risk in a comprehensive manner.”
Mr. Trump, this is now your obligation to the American people. The Clean Power Plan is the most important step the U.S. has taken to address climate change and to cement our leadership role in addressing the security threat that it poses. Repeal of the plan represents a dereliction of your duty to manage climate risks. Climate change is not a hoax, and you must know that reversing the Clean Power Plan will do irreparable harm to our country, our international reputation, our neighbors and allies, and to our planet and all of its creatures.
Jan Samet O’Leary