US: Trump to drop climate change from US national security strategy

'Climate change is not identified as a national security threat but climate and the importance of the environment and environmental stewardship are discussed,' according to a senior administration official

Donald Trump with James Mattis (Photo: NBC News)
Donald Trump with James Mattis (Photo: NBC News)

The Trump administration is set to drop climate change from a list of global threats in a brand new national security strategy, which Trump is due to unveil on Monday.

Instead, the NSS paper will emphasise the need for the US to regain its economic control.

The stance represents a change from the Obama administration’s NSS, which placed climate change as one of the main dangers facing the nation and made international consensus on containing global warming a national security polict.

According to White House officials on Sunday, the Trump NSS was the culmination of 11 months of collaboration between all leading security, economic agencies of government and foreign policy.

The exclusion of climate change seems to conflict with views previously expressed by James Mattis, the defense secretary.

“Climate change is not identified as a national security threat but climate and the importance of the environment and environmental stewardship are discussed,” said a senior administration official.

Another official said Trump’s remarks when he announced he was taking the US out of the Paris climate accord “would be the guidepost for the language in the NSS on climate”.

According to the Federalist site, which first claimed that Trump would drop climate change from the NSS, quoted the draft document as suggesting the Trump administration would actively oppose efforts to reduce the burning of oil, gas and coal for energy.

“US leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to US economic and energy security interests,” the website quoted the document as saying.

“Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty.”

A senior official on Sunday said that the main difference between the Trump NSS and those that came before it was a new emphasis on border security and economic issues.

“The economic piece … gets much more attention,” the official said. “The insistence that economic security is national security.”

In unpublished testimony which was provided to congress after his confirmation hearings in January, Mattis said that the US military had to considering how the thawing Arctic and drought in global flashpoints would pose present as well as future challenges.

“Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” Mattis said in written answers to questions posed after the public hearing by Democratic members of the committee.

Secretary of state, Rex Tillerson and Mattis are reported to have argued against leaving the Paris agreement.

According to officials, the new NSS was based on Trump’s previous speeches on national security and foreign policy. The president was said to have decided to break with normal practice and launch it with a speech.

“As far as we have been able to determine, no president has ever roled this out with a speech before,” said a senior administration official.

“The president was briefed on the document all the way along but when it was near completion and when it was shown to him what it looked like, he was very excited and he personally said he wanted to introduce it to the American people and to the world.”

More in World

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition