‘Warfighting Imperative’: Navy Plans To Increase Climate Spending Nearly 40% In 2024

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The Navy wants Congress to fund an additional $397 million in climate change resiliency programs in 2024, including money for electric vehicles and solar microgrids, according to budget plans revealed Monday.

If Congress grants the funding, total Navy and Marine Corps spending on climate-related programs, such as energy, installation resiliency, disaster preparedness and research and development in fiscal year 2024 will top $1.47 billion compared to $1 billion in FY 2023, according to budget documents (p. 131). The Navy says the plan “increases climate change resiliency by 39%” and supports its objective in “strengthening maritime dominance in order to defend the nation,” documents show.

“It is a national security and warfighting imperative for the [Department of the Navy] to address the impact of climate change on readiness, operations, and the ability to fight and win,” the budget highlights document states. (RELATED: Long Awaited US-Australia Submarine Pact Promises To Be A Windfall For American Defense Contractors: REPORT)

Rising shores and extreme temperatures that contribute to harsh coastal weather, seen as associated with man-made climate change, pose a serious risk to Navy and Marine Corps personnel, weapons and bases globally, according to the documents.

The Navy’s proposed budget includes funding to lease electric vehicles for non-tactical uses, construct EV charging stations and install various power-saving and backup equipment on department installations, the documents show. It also sets aside money for carbon sequestration projects, meant to restore natural environments meant to capture and store carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

It’s also seeking more energy-efficient ways of powering the Navy’s next-generation Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG[X]) with an integrated power system that works by configuring both diesel and gas turbine engines, which normally service the ship’s propulsion and electric systems separately, to coordinate electrical power generation for both uses, the documents show.

Other initiatives involve research and development on energy systems for a variety of weapons and ships, including upgrades for to the Marine Corps’ fleet of 7-ton trucks known as Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVRs).

The Navy released a climate action plan last year as Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said he “chose climate as a focal point” for his tenure as the department’s top official in a forward to the May 2022 agenda.

Our naval forces, the United States Navy and Marine Corps, are in the crosshairs of the climate crisis: the threat increases instability and demands on our forces while simultaneously impacting our capacity to respond to those demands,” he added.

The Navy pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and build on President Joe Biden’s climate executive order with “nature-based solutions,” like carbon sequestration, and installing miniature solar fields near critical installations, the plan shows.

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