March 05, 2020

Neguse, Spanberger Introduce Legislation to Address the National Security Threat of Climate Change

Washington, D.C.—Today, Representative Joe Neguse, who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District in Congress and serves on the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, and Representative Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), who previously served as a CIA officer, introduced the Climate Readiness Act of 2020. The legislation requires the Department of Defense to submit to Congress a report outlining the threats both domestic and abroad of climate change to United States national security. Specifically, the report will include an overview of the ways in which climate change will exasperate or create new global conflicts that may threaten the security of the United States. The bill also requests that the Secretary of Defense provide recommended strategies and approaches for responding to climate change.

“Climate change is the existential threat of our lifetime, and this extends to the very safety and security of our nation,” said Congressman Neguse. “The climate crisis threatens our basic resources, from food to water to energy, our global security and military structures and operations and it’s essential as a nation we are prepared to take on these threats. A report from the Department of Defense on the impact the climate crisis will have on global threats is essential to ensure we are effectively building a resilient future for our nation and our planet.”

“Climate change is a direct threat to our national security and our long-term economic strength, and we can’t afford to stage a retreat from the global effort to prevent an ecological catastrophe,” said Spanberger. “Our bill makes clear that the United States must be a global leader in the fight against climate change, and it stresses that the administration should view combating climate as a national security imperative. Across the world, we are already seeing how climate change is a threat multiplier—it spawns and exacerbates regional conflicts, and it puts significant strain on food and water access in many regions of the globe. I’m proud to stand alongside Congressman Neguse in introducing this legislation, and I’ll keep fighting to protect our communities, strengthen our resilience against environmental damage, and build a national strategy to combat the climate crisis.”

The bill follows a decision by President Trump in December 2017 to remove the mention of Climate Change from the National Security Strategy. In response to that decision, a bipartisan collaboration of 106 Members of Congress sent a letter urging President Trump to restore climate security in the report and recognize it as a national security threat.

Recently, Congressman Neguse hosted a roundtable with aerospace and defense leaders in Colorado, as well as climate scientists from local federal labs, to gather recommendations on climate resilience for the U.S. Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’s Report set to be released later this month.

Since taking office, Congressman Neguse has introduced several pieces of legislation directly aimed at combating the climate crisis, including measures to invest in regenerative agriculture research, incentivize small-scale solar installations, to create a pathway to modernize federal labs, end climate censorship at federal agencies and conserve Colorado’s public lands.