President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris accord is putting him at odds with the Pentagon, which has repeatedly warned climate change poses a national security threat.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, at his January confirmation hearing, reportedly called climate change a "driver of instability" that "requires a broader, whole-of-government response."
And military leaders for more than a decade have said extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels are aggravating social tensions, destabilizing regions, and feeding the rise of extremist groups like al Qaida and ISIS, McClatchy News reported.
"The nature and pace of climate changes being observed today . . . are grave and pose equally grave implications for our national security," a 2007 report by the Military Advisory Board warned. "It is important that the U.S. military begin planning to address these potentially devastating effects."
In 2014, the Pentagon released a Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap that declared "climate change will affect the Department of Defense's ability to defend the nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security."
Another Pentagon report in 2015 called climate change a "threat multiplier."
Trump's decision will have "an immediate effect" on the relationship with U.S. allies, retired Army Brigadier Gen. Gerald Galloway, who is now a University of Maryland engineering professor, told McClatchy News.
"We need our allies to be dealing with this the same way we are, so the concern is that pulling out of the existing treaty sends a message that we don't really care about the issue," he told the outlet.
"Mattis has already said 'I am going to be worried about this,' but it's the concern that [Trump's announcement] will be taken as the definitive statement."
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