Nancy Pelosi says the ‘climate crisis is a national security matter’ to defend Pentagon budget increase

November 9, 2021, 5:56 PM UTC

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday defended the recent bipartisan decision to top up the defense budget, hitting back at criticism that the U.S. military emits more carbon than the country of Portugal.

The Pentagon pollutes more than 100 countries combined and based on fuel usage alone it is the 47th largest emitting country in the world. But according to Nancy Pelosi the increase in defense spending will in a sense aid the fight against climate change.

Speaking at the COP26 in Glasgow, Pelosi noted, “National security advisors all tell us that the climate crisis is a national security matter.”

She said that clean technologies—where the U.S. Department of Defense is increasing its spending—is the future of the U.S. workforce. Pelosi also said that the climate crisis will be a security challenge globally, causing “migration” and “conflict over habitat and resources.”

Up until now, the U.S. has been exempt from reporting its military emissions, due to a loophole agreed upon in the Kyoto Protocol that exempted military from reporting carbon emissions. This loophole ended with the Paris agreement, but after former President Trump exited the treaty, U.S. military emissions no longer had to be recorded with the U.N.

To this day, military emission reporting is voluntary for all countries—and few decide to do so.

The U.S. annual 2022 defense bill was approved in September 2022, after receiving bipartisan support to boost the budget above Biden’s initial requested amount by $24 billion to $740 billion. Pelosi ended the press conference saying much of the defense budget will be spent on converting fossil fuel technologies to make them greener.

On Nov. 8, deputy secretary of defense Kathleen Hicks said the department was, “pushing toward net zero emissions by 2050.”

“The department is committed to meeting the challenge, by making significant changes in our use of energy and increasing our investments in clean energy technology,” she said.

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