Dan Cohen AUTHOR The combination of stringent spending caps and growing worldwide challenges “have left each of our military services underfunded, undersized, and unready to meet current and future threats,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) stated in a “dear colleague” letter intended to build support this week for action to lift the statutory cap on defense spending.McCain sent the letter on Friday, one day after he telling a Brookings Institution audience he plans to offer an amendment on the Senate floor to the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill to raise the spending cap by at least $17 billion.McCain’s plan for increasing Pentagon funding to restore shortfalls in readiness and capability contrasts with the approach House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) adopted in crafting his chamber’s version of the annual defense policy bill. The House measure calls for allocating $18 billion from the uncapped overseas contingency operations account (OCO) to base budget items not requested by the administration.If McCain’s amendment passes and is incorporated into the final version of the authorization bill, it would upend the two-year bipartisan budget agreement reached last year to lift the caps on both defense and non-defense spending.His letter details shortfalls each of the services is experiencing at the same time threats across the globe — including aggressive behavior by Russia and China, the emergence of the Islamic State and an escalation in cyberattacks on the United States — are breaking out.“These and other growing demands on our force have occurred with no commensurate increase in resources, so our military is being forced to raid funds that it needs now to restore readiness, maintain equipment and modernize its equipment,” McCain states.His letter lists a series of budget-driven cuts that would go ahead in the absence of additional funds for the Pentagon:downsizing the Navy, with no plan to reach a fleet of at least 323 ships;retiring the Navy’s 10th air wing;cancelling over 50 military construction projects; andunderfunding facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization, with the current budget funding only 74 percent of such requirements.Failure to raise the defense cap also would prevent the Senate from providing resources to rebuild the military’s readiness levels, freeze the drawdown of the Army and reverse the drawdown of the Marine Corps.“When the Senate takes up the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, I am committed to seeking solutions to give our service members the resources, training, and the equipment they need and deserve,” McCain said.
Explore further Citation: Carbon uptake in Tibetan Plateau soil may offset melting permafrost carbon release (2017, May 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-05-carbon-uptake-tibetan-plateau-soil.html © 2017 Phys.org Anyone paying attention to the science surrounding global warming has heard about the problem of carbon released into the atmosphere due to permafrost melting in colder parts of the planet. Less well known or understood is what happens to the soil above the permafrost. As temperatures rise, soil above the permafrost becomes warmer, offering a haven for new plant growth—such plants have been found to sequester carbon from the air back into the soil. Thus, as more carbon is released from below, more is sequestered from above, but is it possible that new sequestering offsets old release? That is what the researchers with this new effort want to know. To learn more, they studied soil samples taken from multiple sites in the Tibetan Plateau (a large elevated plateau north of the Himalayas) in the early 2000s and compared them with similar samples taken a decade later.The researchers report that the soil samples were taken from depths up to 30 cm (which is above the permafrost line) and found an average accumulation of carbon in the soil to have occurred at a mean rate of 28.0 g cm−2 yr−1, which they concluded was due to accumulation of organic carbon concentrations (material left when plants died). They describe the increase as substantial, and possibly enough to offset carbon released due to permafrost melting. More tests will have to be conducted to determine if there is a true offset, but the study results suggest that climate change models might have to be adjusted if offsetting occurs in regions much farther north. If carbon released by melting permafrost in Russia, Canada and other parts of the world is offset by new plant growth, it is possible that much less carbon will make its way into the atmosphere than has been predicted, resulting in slower than predicted global warming. More information: Jinzhi Ding et al. Decadal soil carbon accumulation across Tibetan permafrost regions, Nature Geoscience (2017). DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2945AbstractPermafrost soils store large amounts of carbon. Warming can result in carbon release from thawing permafrost, but it can also lead to enhanced primary production, which can increase soil carbon stocks. The balance of these fluxes determines the nature of the permafrost feedback to warming. Here we assessed decadal changes in soil organic carbon stocks in the active layer—the uppermost 30 cm—of permafrost soils across Tibetan alpine regions, based on repeated soil carbon measurements in the early 2000s and 2010s at the same sites. We observed an overall accumulation of soil organic carbon irrespective of vegetation type, with a mean rate of 28.0 g C m−2 yr−1 across Tibetan permafrost regions. This soil organic carbon accrual occurred only in the subsurface soil, between depths of 10 and 30 cm, mainly induced by an increase of soil organic carbon concentrations. We conclude that the upper active layer of Tibetan alpine permafrost currently represents a substantial regional soil carbon sink in a warming climate, implying that carbon losses of deeper and older permafrost carbon might be offset by increases in upper-active-layer soil organic carbon stocks, which probably results from enhanced vegetation growth. Journal information: Nature Geoscience Natural-colour satellite image of the Tibetan Plateau. Credit: NASA This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Study shows microbes may accelerate loss of permafrost in Greenland (Phys.org)—An international team of researchers has found that carbon uptake in the Tibetan Plateau may actually offset the carbon that is released as permafrost melts. In their paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the team describes soil readings they analyzed from the region and what their findings suggest about carbon release in cold parts of the world.