Climate Defense Must Include the Pentagon

10 mins read

We are glad to support a president who has finally placed combating global warming front and center in his administration. One who understands that “the United States and the world face a profound climate crisis. We have a narrow moment to pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis and to seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents,” as stated in his executive order on January 31, 2021. 

But we did not expect the president to exclude defense spending from that executive order. At Indivisible SF, we have demanded that this administration (and the previous one) recognize and act upon the fact that a defense budget for the twenty-first century must include dramatically reducing the ravages of global warming.

In 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned the world that we only had about twelve years to stave off catastrophic changes in our climate. We lost four of those years with the Trump gang in charge. Unfortunately, for some Americans, protecting our planet was a less important reason to vote than hating liberals, so we still have too many Republicans in Congress (and some Democrats) who are funded by and beholden to Big Oil.

So again, we renew our call to our president, our Members of Congress, and the Pentagon to get real about the gravity of the situation and insist that defense spending include the actions listed here::

  • ensuring solar panels cover all roofs of all buildings on all U.S. bases;
  • requiring all new non-combat vehicles (trucks, forklifts, staff-cars, etc.) to be electric rather than gasoline;
  • including climate crises in all risk assessments;
  • shifting  some research funds from dead-end projects and concepts to fighting global warming.

The Pentagon has the largest carbon footprint in the world. Reducing it would make our stated goal of net zero by 2030 that much more achievable.

Tell your Members of Congress and President Biden: Our national effort to prevent catastrophic climate collapse must not exclude the Pentagon.

Good Bills for a Better Congress: The Climate Emergency Act

Millions of Americans voted for Democrats in 2020, knowing they were the party most likely to tackle the accelerating climate crisis after we had lost valuable time during the Trump years. We were gratified to hear one of President Biden’s first executive orders about taking a whole-of-government approach to tackling global warming. But we didn’t elect enough Democrats in the Senate to meet the urgency of the moment and overcome the power of Big Oil lobbyists to get that done. 

Understanding these obstacles to aggressive action, in February 2021, some Members of Congress introduced House and Senate versions of the Climate Emergency Act of 2021, which would direct the President to declare a national emergency relating to climate change. Declaring a national emergency would allow the president to halt crude oil exports, stop offshore oil and gas drilling, restrict international fossil fuel investment, and rapidly manufacture and distribute renewable energy systems.

Unfortunately, their bill hasn’t gotten a floor vote in the House or Senate. It had forty-six co-sponsors in the House and only four in the Senate. We agree with Jean Su, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s energy justice program, that “declaring a climate emergency isn’t a catch phrase; it’s a vital suite of actions to protect people and the planet from this crisis. In the face of delayed climate legislation, President Biden should use his tremendous executive powers to turn this emergency into an opportunity for profound economic and social transformation.” President Biden doesn’t need this bill to declare a national emergency, so ISF will continue to demand he do that so he can deploy the Defense Production Act to meet the urgency of the moment.

There are so many outstanding bills that will never make it past Republican obstruction in the 50/50 Senate. So instead of asking you to take action on bills like this right now, we’re making a list of bills our next Congress can and should enact, if we can hold our House majority and increase our Senate majority. Find the Climate Emergency Act, and others that might inspire your friends and family to vote in the midterm elections, on our list of Good Bills for a Better Congress.

Your local right and duty: join the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury!

You have the right and power to investigate and improve your local government. One key way to do that is by joining your county’s Civil Grand Jury.

Every year, each of California’s fifty-eight counties convenes a Civil Grand Jury made up of residents of that county. The members of the Jury collectively decide which aspects of local government to investigate. They then interview local government officials, read through documents and reports to reach a conclusion about how well that aspect of government is performing, publish their results, and present them to the local government.

State law vests the Civil Grand Jury with significant power to affect local government. Last year’s Grand Jury issued a report about the processes by which the City built the long-awaited Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit line, which opened at long last earlier this month. The Board of Supervisors has agreed to study or adopt every one of the Jury’s recommendations to help streamline public works construction in San Francisco and ensure high quality at reasonable cost.

If you live in the City and County of San Francisco, are a U.S. citizen eighteen years of age or older, and can devote ten hours a week to the Civil Grand Jury, YOU can apply to participate. Applications are open until May 13 for the time period of July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.

If you’re not sure whether serving on the Civil Grand Jury is for you, you can learn more from our blog post!

If you’re interested in participating in activities like drafting letters to our Members of Congress and developing our strategy for influencing them, the Indivisible SF Federal Working Group is where it happens. Our next meeting is on Thursday, April 28. Details on how to register below.

ISF Federal Working Group meeting: Thursday, April 28, 7:30–9 PM. Register here to join our regular Zoom meeting, where we work together to develop strategies for influencing our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to support a progressive agenda. All are welcome to participate and contribute, even if you’ve never attended an ISF meeting before.

Wednesdays and Saturdays: Bay Area Coalition Phone Banks: Our friends at Swing Left need your help talking to voters about the upcoming primaries and midterms. Join Swing Left and the Bay Area Coalition on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings to make calls to voters in California and around the nation. Sign up for a shift

  • Saturday, April 30, 10 AM–12 PM
  • Wednesday, May 4, 5 PM–7 PM
  • Saturday, May 7, 10AM–12 PM 

About this week’s photo

If you’ve seen our newsletter posts on Twitter and Facebook, you might have noticed that we include a photo or graphic with each issue.  Today’s image is an overhead view of the Van Ness BRT from SFMTA’s announcement.

Keep Fighting,

The Indivisible SF Team

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Since the January 2017, more than 4,000 San Franciscans have united as Indivisible SF to march in the Women's Marches, protest the Muslim Ban, meet regularly with our Members of Congress, and make thousands of phone calls to their offices to pressure them to do everything in their power to counter the policies and politics of Trumpism. There is much work in progress and many actions to come.

Members of Indivisible SF are defined by our action and find solidarity in our shared opposition to Trump and Trumpism. Each of us explicitly reserves our individual stances on specific issues for other forums as we believe resisting Trump is more important than any single issue. We adhere to a Code of Conduct that welcomes and respects everybody.

Members of Indivisible SF come from all kinds of backgrounds and political persuasions. Some of us are first-time activists and others have been at this for decades. We are citizens and non-citizens. Most importantly, we are all patriots that want the best for our country and are willing to work for it.

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