Climate change isn’t budgeted as the “existential threat” Biden said it was. What Biden values more according to his own metric—“Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value”—is weapons production.

By Stephen Semler, Outrider

The budget request Joe Biden submitted to Congress in late March calls for more than $813 billion in military spending for fiscal year 2023. This would nearly be a record high, even after adjusting for inflation. Save for the stretch of Pentagon spending from 2007 to 2011 that funded U.S. troop surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, Biden’s proposed military budget is larger than any enacted military budget since World War II.

u.s. defense department pentagon Washington, D.C.

While military spending consumes more than half of the $1.6 trillion budget request, Biden allocates less than 3% of the proposed funding for tackling the climate crisis. A similar funding disparity derailed Biden’s climate plan in fiscal year 2022: Despite a historic climate investment, the considerably-larger investment in the Pentagon all but guaranteed that military-related emissions would easily offset any expected reductions from the new climate programs. Based on the recently-unveiled fiscal year 2023 budget request, Biden appears poised to make the same mistake next year.

Biden’s budgets contradict his affirmations that the U.S. takes climate change as seriously as science demands. This is irresponsible and unsustainable. Biden must shed his preoccupation with military confrontation and budget instead for a global leadership role on climate.

Biden sought to establish the United States as a global leader on climate change immediately upon entering office. The day after his inauguration, the president issued an Executive Order stating that the climate crisis would now be at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy and national security planning. He also held the Leaders Summit on Climate within his first 100 days “to make clear that [climate action] is a top U.S. priority to combat the crisis at home and abroad,” according to the State Department, and he pledged to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets.

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