We salute the Inflation Reduction Act’s largest investment in climate action in US history; $350 billion is a great start. But the scope of the climate emergency is much larger, as we can see in China’s punishing drought, Pakistan’s devastating floods, and the deadly wildfires, grueling heatwaves, and crippling drought here in America. The National Defense budget for 2023 (NDAA-23) now making its way through Congress is currently at $847 billion, but almost none of it addresses global warming.
Fighter jets can’t shoot down Cat-5 hurricanes, new-generation nuclear weapons won’t protect us from killer heat waves, improved battle tanks can’t fight raging wildfires, and aircraft carriers won’t stem rising sea levels. Some 60 percent of our federal taxes fund the defense establishment. That money is allocated and controlled through the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Ever since ISF was founded, we have been calling upon Congress to include combatting the climate crisis in the NDAA, since it is the major national security peril that we face.
Last year, the Pentagon issued its Climate Adaptation Plan (DOD-CAP). How do the NDAA-23 and DOD-CAP measure up in terms of how they address our greatest threat?
Level 1: Protecting the military
Level 1, the lowest level, is about preventing and repairing damage to the defense facilities and equipment from the climate emergency and preparing for future threats (adaptation, resilience, hardening, mitigation, preservation, climate-ready). These are the only climate measures addressed in the NDAA-23 and DOD-CAP.
Level 2: Slowing the increase in greenhouse gases generated by the military
The US military pumps more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than any other institution on the planet. It consumes an enormous amount of electric power generated by burning fossil fuel. Most of its ships and all of its vehicles and planes are powered by gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel. Neither the NDAA-23 nor DOD-CAP include any significant provisions for reducing the Pentagon’s carbon footprint.
Level 3: Directly combating global warming
A significant portion of our national security budget can—and must—be reoriented toward defending against catastrophic climate change through renewable energy, carbon sequestration, military units to fight raging wildfires, and more effective means of harm reduction. None of these elements are included in NDAA-23 or DOD-CAP.
While individual efforts to protect the environment are laudable, we need a systemic defense against the climate threats we face. That requires a massive mobilization of resources and a fundamental restructuring of our economy that only government can manage and coordinate. Legislation such as the Biden Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act are necessary and important first steps, but they are insufficient to address the magnitude of the dangers we face. Slowing, halting, and eventually reversing global warming can only be funded through taxes that require the wealthy to pay their fair share. Tell Congress it’s long past time for our defense dollars to address the greatest threat to our national security.
Contact the White House and your Members of Congress and tell them: amend the NDAA-23 to address the impact of the military on our climate, curbing emissions and fossil fuel use.
Get your updated COVID-19 booster!
There’s a new booster that covers the BA.5 variant, and it’s available right now at some chain pharmacies (including Walgreens, CVS and Safeway). It’s also coming soon to county vaccination sites and MyTurn. Kids 12 and older can get Pfizer, and adults 18 and older can get Pfizer or Moderna. Make your appointment now to get back to maximum protection in time for fall.
It’s also time for you to get your flu shot. Flu shots are available through your healthcare provider and at all chain pharmacies, including Costco.
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, Sep. 8. Details on how to register below.
ISF Federal Working Group meeting: Thursday, Sept. 8, 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. You’re welcome to participate and contribute, even if you’ve never attended an ISF meeting before.
Bay Area Coalition Phone Banks: Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Help our friends at Swing Left talk to voters about the upcoming primaries and midterms. Join Swing Left and the Bay Area Coalition on Wednesday evenings, Saturday mornings, and Sunday afternoons to make calls to voters in California and around the nation. Sign up to participate from home or in person:
- TODAY, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 5–7 PM
- Saturday, Sept. 10, 10 AM–12 PM
- Sunday, Sept. 11, 1–3 PM
Voter registration drive in the California Central Valley with Swing Left: Saturdays. Swing Left needs your help registering voters in Central Valley CD-13 and CD-22, from Modesto to Bakersfield. Join them every weekend until Tuesday, November 8, for door-to-door and COVID-safe canvassing to register voters. Sign up here:
- Saturday, Sept. 10, 9 AM–3:30 PM
- Saturday, Sept. 17, 9 AM–3:30 PM
- Saturday, Sept. 24, 9 AM–3:30 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 illustration by Gerd Altmann of the Statue of Liberty partially submerged as her torch billows smoke.
The Indivisible SF Team
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