(CNSNews.com) — In a speech delivered at the University of the Bahamas on March 1, U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said that from the moment he became head of the Navy he “made climate” one of his “top priorities.” He also warned that “we as humanity face … the existential threat of climate change.”
“I am here to engage with you on an urgent priority to all of us: the climate crisis,” Secretary Del Toro told attendees from the university. “The consequences of our changing climate are an existential threat. The increasing severity of those consequences are already being acutely felt here in the Caribbean and throughout the United States.”
“You are on the front lines of the climate crisis,” he said.
“Today, we as humanity face a different battle, which will require current generations’ commitment as well as courage — the existential threat of climate change,” said Del Toro. “And the United States stands with you in combatting this threat.”
“As the Secretary of the Navy, I can tell you that I have made climate one of my top priorities since the first day I came into office,” he said.
As Secretary of the Navy, Del Toro is responsible for more than 900,000 Sailors, Marines, reservists, and civilian personnel and an annual budget of $210-plus billion.
According to its website, the mission of the U.S. Navy is to protect “America at sea. Alongside our allies and partners, we defend freedom, preserve economic prosperity, and keep the seas open and free.” The site also says the Navy is “America’s primary forward deployed force. Diverse, united, and tough, we are and will remain the most lethal global maneuver force in the world.”
Speaking further about the battle against climate change, Secretary Del Toro said, “[W]e know that urgency is in order. Time is not on our side. We are in the critical decade to make meaningful progress so that we can avoid the worst climate scenarios.”
“We must act now,” he stressed. “We view the climate crisis much the same way as ‘damage control efforts’ on a stricken ship. This is an ‘All Hands on Deck’ moment.”
One of the ways the Navy is acting, he said, is “improving the efficiency of our ships, so we use fewer fossil fuels. It commits us to electrifying our vehicles.”
“[W]e are harnessing the power of nature to draw carbon out of the air and to build coastal resilience for our bases and neighboring communities,” added Del Toro.
“A climate-focused commitment empowers us to adopt more-advanced technology, enabling a virtuous cycle of energy efficiency, cost savings, maritime dominance, and climate security,” said the secretary.
“This virtuous cycle has already begun,” he added. “Hybrid propulsion systems for our ships, for instance, give them greater range between refueling, allowing them to spend more time on their missions. That these systems reduce emissions is an enormous bonus.”
“We want everyone feeding the best information into a shared maritime understanding, and we want everyone using that information to protect their interests,” said Del Toro. “Climate change is one of the, if not the, most complex issues we have ever faced—as individuals, as nations, and as a species.”
“We understand that you are fighting for your very existence,” he told the university students and faculty.
To watch the entire speech, click here.
Carlos Del Toro was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Joe Biden. He holds degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the Naval War College. Del Toro served in the Navy for 22 years and retired with the rank of commander. He is married and has four children.
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