Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren outlined a plan Wednesday that would have the Defense Department take steps to combat climate change and would entail noncombat U.S. bases to significantly curtail their carbon emissions over the next decade.
The Massachusetts senator said climate change is real, worsening by the day and affecting military readiness.
“Climate change is already impacting the way the Pentagon operates — its training, equipment, supply chains, construction, maintenance, and deployments,” Ms. Warren said in a Medium post. “More and more, accomplishing the mission depends on our ability to continue operations in the face of floods, drought, wildfires, and desertification.”
Ms. Warren’s announcement comes as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, another 2020 contender, is facing criticism from the left for not being aggressive enough on environmental issues — criticism Mr. Biden has said is unfounded.
Ms. Warren said that “consistent with the objectives of the Green New Deal,” the Pentagon should achieve net zero carbon emissions for non-combat bases and infrastructure by 2030.
She also said she would ask contractors that haven’t achieved those levels of emissions to pay a fee of 1 percent of the total value of the contract, with that money going toward investing in military infrastructure.
Ms. Warren also said she would direct the defense secretary to appoint a “senior official” within the defense department and each of the military services to make sure the military is prioritizing climate change.
Other parts of the plan would entail providing new money for a 10-year research and development program at the Defense Department focused on “microgrids and advanced energy storage,” and having the Pentagon produce an annual report evaluating the “climate vulnerability” of U.S. military bases.
The military has already been experimenting with microgrid technology at its facilities for some time.
Ms. Warren acknowledged that they’re already taking steps to become more energy efficient, but said “nibbling around the edges” isn’t enough.
“We don’t have to choose between a green military and an effective one,” she said. “Together, we can work with our military to fight climate change — and win.”
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