The Pentagon Just Added “Climate Change” to Its Official Dictionary

Military vocabulary warms to an emerging threat.

A Marine wearing a prototype solar blanket.AP Photo/Gregory Bull

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The Department of Defense has long acknowledged the threat to global and national security posed by climate change. But last week, the DoD officially included “climate change” in its official glossary for the first time. The addition was first noticed by the Federation of American Scientists. Here’s what the DoD settled on for its definition in the most recent Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms: “Variations in average weather conditions that persist over multiple decades or longer that encompass increases and decreases in temperature, shifts in precipitation, and changing risk of certain types of severe weather events.”

Department of Defense

The definition doesn’t address the causes of climate change, nor does it assign our global climatological SNAFU a handy acronym.

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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