GOP: Climate risks ‘pale in comparison’ to national debt

By Emma Dumain | 05/16/2024 06:50 AM EDT

Senate Budget Committee Republicans questioned the importance of addressing climate change for national security.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in 2022. The Senate Budget Committee ranking member is continuing to question the panel's focus on climate change. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The Senate Budget Committee held its 17th hearing Wednesday tying climate change to economic instability — this time to the financial burdens of responding to climate-fueled crises and conflicts.

But while the topic of national security and defense drew some level of engagement from the GOP, it was not enough to break down the partisan wall committee Republicans have built around efforts from Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to highlight the impacts of climate change.

“I agree climate change presents some national security-related challenges,” ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in his opening remarks.


He noted, for instance, that “melting sea ice means new shipping lanes and accessible resources in the Artic,” which in turn is leading to a scenario where “China and Russia are aggressively staking out their claims in the area.”