House GOP Tells DHS to Stop Worrying About Climate Change


Readers of this blog are well-versed in Republican attempts to axe any and all government programs that include the word “climate” in the title. Among their attempts so far this year: axing NOAA’s climate service, taking a chainsaw to the EPA, and attempting to defund NASA’s climate work, to name a few. The latest? On Thursday, the House GOP passed a measure barring the Department of Homeland Security from working on a government-wide plan to prepare for climate change.

Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.) tacked an amendment onto the DHS budget bill for fiscal year 2012 that bars DHS from working with the Interagency Task Force on Climate Change Adaptation. The task force, created by the Obama administration, is charged with making recommendations about how to prepare for climate change. From Energy & Environment Daily ($ub. req’d):

The Carter amendment would likely prohibit DHS staff from coordinating with staff from other agencies to assess the risks climate change poses to domestic security and to find ways to adapt to it, an administration aide said.

In his statement supporting the amendment, Carter said that it is unnecessary for DHS to use any of its resources to address climate change, because US EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also have climate mitigation and monitoring programs.

Well, yes, other agencies do have climate programs (though I would note that the House GOP has defunded some of the very same climate work at those agencies that Carter now touts). But that doesn’t mean that the national security community has no role to play in preparing for the impacts of climate change. Carter’s not the first to go after the task force, as Senate Republicans also targeted it earlier this year. This latest effort, though, goes the extra step of actively telling national security experts to stop caring about an issue that they have flagged as a concern.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.