USA: Why the military isn’t tracking climate change costs
By Carolyn Beeler
More than a week after the storm hit, officials are still surveying the damage. But when they’re done, the repair costs will not be added to any running tab of military spending related to extreme weather or climate change.
Because that doesn’t exist.
Neither do comprehensive estimates of how much climate change impacts — like increasingly severe storms, rising seas, flooding or drought — will cost the military in repair, rebuilding or adaptation costs.
Without tracking these costs, the GAO argues, the Defense Department won’t have the information it needs to work climate-related spending into future budgets.
[Brian Lepore, a Director of Defense Capabilities and Management at the U.S. Government Accountability Office] argues it’s a lot easier to justify the cost of an adaptation project like strengthening a hangar roof if military officials know how much they’ve spent repairing hangar roofs in the past — not to mention the expensive aircraft that sit inside them — and how much more they might need to spend in the face of increasingly intense storms.
And it’s not just about the money.
“We don’t have military bases because it’s nice to have them,” Lepore said. “We have military bases to support a military mission, and if the base is out of commission, by definition it’s not supporting that military mission.”