GAO: Most U.S. Installations Underprepared for Climate Change

GAO: Most U.S. Installations Underprepared for Climate Change

A Government Accountability Office report issued Wednesday says a majority of U.S. military installations surveyed in a recent study have based their resiliency plans on past weather patterns instead of climate change projections.

GAO visited or contacted 23 military installations and reported that DOD does not consistently assess climate change risks at its bases and that many installations are not factoring in rising greenhouse gas effects in their resiliency planning.

“GAO also found that most of the installations had not used climate projections because they lack guidance on how to incorporate projections into their master plans,” the report says. “Not assessing risks or using climate projections in installation planning may expose DOD facilities to greater-than-anticipated damage or degradation as a result of extreme weather or climate-related effects.”

Of the 23 installations the GAO surveyed, 15 followed a Pentagon mandate to incorporate current research of climate change and extreme weather effects in their base master plan, but eight did not.

The report came as the House Armed Services Committee debated several climate change amendments in its fiscal 2020 defense policy bill.

Readiness Subcommittee Chairman Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday that provisions had been included requiring DOD to “prepare for threats posed by climate change.”

Earlier this year Garamendi and Readiness Ranking Member Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) visited Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., and Marine Corps Base Station Camp Lejeune, N.C., to view damage from recent natural disasters. The three installations will require at least $12 billion to recover, according to DOD.

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