Crow hosts online climate change roundtable Tuesday

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AURORA | Aurora Congressman Jason Crow is hosting a roundtable Tuesday to discuss climate change as a variable in the country’s national security.

The live event will stream on Youtube at 1 p.m. MT.

Crow, co-chair of the National Security Task Force, introduced the Military Installation Resilience Assuredness Act (MIRA) last year that would “establish a baseline for understanding the threat of extreme weather to military installations by requiring them to include assessments of weather vulnerabilities and mitigation efforts.”

Some large bases are already required to do this, but Crow wants more military installations, such as Aurora’s Buckley Air Force Base, to perform the evaluations, too. His legislation would nearly double that number.

“I learned in the Army that the first step to threats and vulnerabilities is to have a baseline of understanding,” he told the Sentinel last summer. “This (legislation) increases the scope for climate change-related factors and environmental issues.”

The notion that rising temperatures will affect national security is not a new one.

“Climate change presents a serious threat to the security and prosperity of the United States and other countries. Recent actions and statements by members of Congress, members of the UN Security Council, and retired U.S. military officers have drawn attention to the consequences of climate change, including the destabilizing effects of storms, droughts, and floods,” the Greenberg Center for Geoconomic Studies wrote in a report in 2007. “Domestically, the effects of climate change could overwhelm disaster-response capabilities. Internationally, climate change may cause humanitarian disasters, contribute to political violence, and undermine weak governments.”

Along with the MIRA Act, Crow launched a larger discussion called the Sustainable Power Initiative around climate change —which he said will include roundtable meetings in the Sixth Congressional District and in Washington, D.C.,  with military, economic, defense, energy, and environment industry leaders.

“The Sustainable Power Initiative comes as climate change, over-dependence on fossil fuels, and an aging military infrastructure have left the U.S. military and national security apparatus vulnerable,” a news release about the legislation and initiative from Crow’s office said. “In recent years, extreme weather events have resulted in billions spent for base repairs, such as $3.6 billion for Camp Lejeune following Hurricane Florence. Over 14 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is estimated that 52 percent of wartime casualties occurred during land transport missions – predominantly associated with fuel resupply, a result of the U.S. dependence and consumption of fossil fuels.

Crow said he hopes that talks will drive the narrative on the need he and national security officials see for action on climate change and evolving weather events already causing concern.