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Pentagon climate plan: battle-fighting in a hot, harsh world

A new Pentagon plan calls for incorporating the realities of a hot, harsh Earth into the U.S. military at every level, from making deteriorating climate extremes an essential part of strategic planning to training soldiers how to make their own The water supply of the state should be protected and heat injury treated.

The Pentagon — whose jets, aircraft carriers, truck convoys, bases and office buildings cumulatively burn more oil than most countries — is one of the federal agencies that President Joe Biden called for its climate-resilience when he took office in January. The plans were ordered to be overhauled. Around 20 agencies were releasing those plans on Thursday.

“These are steps necessary not only to meet a need, but to protect the nation under all circumstances,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in a letter accompanying the Pentagon’s climate plan.

It follows decades of US military assessments that climate change threatens US national security, with increased risks of conflict over water and other scarce resources, threats to US military installations and supply chains, and additional risks to troops.

The US military is the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world, and a significant contributor to the deteriorating climate globally. But the Pentagon plan focuses on adapting to climate change, not cutting its significant production of climate-devastating fossil fuel pollution.

It sketches in the context of business what kind of risks the US military faces in a grim world ahead: roads collapse under convoys as the permafrost melts. Critical equipment failure in extreme heat or cold. US troops in dry areas abroad are competing with the local population for lack of water supplies, causing “friction or even conflict”. Already, worsening wildfires in the US West, severe storms along the coasts and rising heat in some areas are disrupting US military training and preparedness.

The Defense Department’s new plan exemplifies Hurricane Michael in 2018, which struck Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. Hurricane ended months of classroom training for the nation’s top simulator and F-22s stealth fighter jets, for a more than USD 3 billion rebuild. It was one of several storms and floods that have affected operations as US bases in recent years.

Climate adaptation planning focuses on what needs to be done to incorporate accurate and current climate data and considerations into strategic, operational and tactical decision-making. This includes ongoing training of senior executives and others in what the report calls climate literacy.

“Failure to properly integrate a climate change understanding of the associated risks can significantly increase department adaptation and operating costs over time, … jeopardize the supply chain, and/or degrade and outlive departments.” could result in efficiencies,” the plan warns.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, since 2001 the Department of Defense accounts for up to 80 percent of all US energy consumption annually.

The US military’s focus on more energy-efficient equipment has reduced fossil-fuel use in some ways, and has allowed some warships, for example, to increase range and deployment times, the military says. .

But the Pentagon’s emphasis remains on its mission to maintain the striking power of the military. Thursday’s plan suggests deploying climate-mitigation technology such as battery storage and microgrids when it is appropriate for a US defense mission. It suggests “exploration: – rather than mandated – steps such as asking suppliers to report their own production of fossil-fuel contaminants.

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