References to “Climate Change” Removed from DOD Report

Date: May 10th, 2018

Agency: DOD, Federal

Explanation: Government Censorship

Scientist: Climate

On May 10, 2018, the Washington Post reported that numerous references to “climate change” were removed from a Department of Defense (DOD) document outlining how climate change is affecting military bases and installations. According to the Washington Post, a draft of the document was heavily edited, with several references to “climate change” removed, and others replaced with “extreme weather.” The Washington Post found that, “[w]hile the phrase ‘climate change’ appears 23 separate times in the draft report, the final version used it just once.”

The draft report was also edited to downplay the impacts of climate change. For example, several references to climate change-induced sea level rise were removed, as was a map showing military bases at risk of flooding therefrom. References to the decline of Arctic sea ice, and the impact it will have on military bases, was also removed. According to the Washington Post:

“A statement that ‘the past decades have seen a climate-related downward trend in the extent of Arctic sea ice coverage’ does not appear in the final report, nor does a description of extreme weather events being ‘made more destructive by a reduction in sea ice and an increase in ice free periods,’ since without protective sea ice, large waves can pummel fragile Arctic coastlines during storms.

And where the draft report says that shoreline erosion at [one military base] is caused by ‘reduced sea ice coverage,’ the final document instead blames the damage on ‘sea ice fluctuations.'”