OPINION

Opinion: Why the military cares about climate change

Apr 23, 2021, 11:48 AM | Updated: 11:49 am
Mike Lee makes his closing remarks during the impeachment trial hearings, saying he will vote to acquit President Donald Trump.
This is an editorial piece. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with the KSL newsroom.

I had the chance to talk with Senator Mike Lee this morning on the topic of children wearing masks, but since I had him on the line, I thought I’d ask him about the summit of world leaders going on today on the topic of climate change. Since it was the first time in my memory that the senator and I had spoken on climate change, I asked for his general view. 

Thinking over Sen. Lee’s thoughts on climate change 

“Climates do change. That’s what they do,” he answered. “We know our climate is changing. That doesn’t answer the subsidiary question to that of to what extent is human activity responsible for that and to what extent can we do anything about it by changes to public policy.”

I was specifically curious as to whether he agreed with previous assessments of the United States military that climate change presented a threat to our national security.

He responded, “The reason I get nervous when I hear military leaders talking about this is I want them to be focused on military issues. They don’t have the tools to change the climate in the military. There are those in Congress who do believe we have some tools. I disagree with the tools that have been proposed so far. I think we’ll be better off promoting the development of technologies by allowing for economic growth.”

I thought a lot about what the senator had to say after we got off the air. With my limited understanding, he’s right that the military doesn’t have tools to change the climate, per se, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t in a position to be keenly interested in climate change, perhaps more so than the rest of us. When the sea temperature rises and hurricanes destroy coasts of the United States repeatedly, who goes in to stabilize the area? The National Guard. When fires rage affected by increased temperature and drought, who is called after the firefighters? The National Guard. When people around the world lose their coastal homes and begin migrating to the United States, who is called to bring the peace? The United States military. Not to mention the U.S. military bases on the coasts that are threatened by storms. 

This is the way I see it. The military can’t change the climate, but they are the ones called in to clean up the mess caused by climate change. The policymakers have the luxury of endless debate while the sea level rises, the droughts get worse, the temperature goes up and the cost of food keeps going up. They don’t get called to rescue survivors, rebuild lost communities or keep the peace. That would be the military. So, with all due respect, I do believe that climate change is their business, which makes it a matter of national security.

But as Dennis Miller used to say, “That’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.”

Related:

Opinion: Five Words That Changed America

Opinion: A former Coachman’s waitress says farewell

Today’s Top Stories

Opinion

Glass jar with coins on table, closeup. Money saving concept (Adobe Stock)...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Budgeting when you live below the poverty line

If you're living below the poverty level, it can be hard to buy the things you need. Here's how one school assignment is trying to give more insight.
1 day ago
From "The Story of Change" told by citizens...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: We are citizens, not consumers.

Because we act like consumers, we stand at a distance, judgmental and opinionated, but never about our own role.
25 days ago
Follow @amandadickson...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Is Democracy on the ballot?

At its core, what is our democracy based on? The USA believes in the integrity of the vote and the peaceful transfer of power that follows.
1 month ago
snow memories...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: As winter approaches, I ask, ‘What are your snow memories?’

As the first snow of winter begins to fall in Salt Lake City, KSL NewsRadio host Amanda Dickson recalls her memories of snow.
1 month ago
View from my son's seats at the game...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: BYU fans — please don’t boo your team

Aiden's first game in a college stadium was the BYU vs. Baylor game this year. He talked about his sport-induced joy for days.
1 month ago
First day on the job. Photo, Amanda Dickson...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: My new side hustle — substitute teaching in Salt Lake City

I don't know when I was more nervous, the first time I ran the board at KSL NewsRadio or my first time substitute teaching 5th graders.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Opinion: Why the military cares about climate change