Sun, Sep 08, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Burning Brazil threatens the US’ security

As the planet warms, many US military installations are threatened, especially the US Navy’s

By James Stavridis  /  Bloomberg Opinion

Given the skepticism that the administration of US President Donald Trump has toward the science of climate change, it is unlikely for now that the services would be able to overcome political opposition to focus resources on dealing with the challenges.

Early in his administration, Trump pulled the US out of the 2014 Paris climate agreement. He failed to even show up for the discussion of global climate at the G7 summit on Aug. 26.

As the Amazon burns, the response from the US has been muted, limited to a few “go get’em” tweets from Trump to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and sending a single firefighting aircraft.

The US needs a comprehensive approach to climate that combines a renewal of international partnerships such as the Paris agreement; better interagency cooperation between the US Department of Defense and the rest of government, especially the National Weather Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and private-public cooperation to reduce greenhouse gases.

If the Trump administration is unwilling to do so, US states and local governments have to answer the call, working directly with the private sector. Americans need to understand how those rising plumes of smoke over the Amazon are a direct threat to our national security.

James Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a retired US Navy admiral and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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