Start A Petition

Climate Change Poses Threat to National Security, Report Says

Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, environment, globalwarming, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, military assessment, oceans, pollution, research, science, Sustainabililty )

- 1618 days ago -
Retired U.S. military leaders say armed forces should create long-term plan to counter effects of climate change.


We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Kit B (276)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 7:43 am
Photo Credit: Bill Kaczor/AP and Al Jazeera

The effects of climate change — including extreme weather, drought and sea-level rise — pose a serious threat to U.S. national security, according to a report released Wednesday. Because of the effects, the country’s already "stretched" military capacity is being put to the test, it said.

“National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,” written by 12 retired military leaders and published by the Center for Naval Analyses, a national security analysis nonprofit, said the U.S. armed forces should create a 30- to 40-year plan to address the risks.

“It is not possible to discuss the future of national and international security without addressing climate change,” retired Air Force Gen. Donald Hoffman said Wednesday in a press release. “Food shortages, droughts, floods — all directly tied to climate change will be catalysts for conflict.”

Unlike traditional national security concerns, climate change has the potential to create multiple chronic conditions occurring simultaneously around the world, the report said. It called climate change’s projected impact on water, food and energy security “profound.”

The world can expect “more poverty, more forced migrations, higher unemployment,” retired Navy admiral and former commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command T. Joseph Lopez said in the report. He added that those conditions are “ripe” for extremists — another national security concern that climate change will likely exacerbate.

Still, the majority of the report’s recommendations were related to addressing domestic vulnerabilities.

An increase in frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, for example, could have a destabilizing effect on U.S. fleets and ships, retired Navy Adm. Donald L. Pilling, former vice chief of naval operations, said in the report.

“It may cause you to move ships north to avoid hurricanes … it impacts maintenance schedules and impacts operational structures. And that doesn’t factor in the damage that hurricanes can do to our ports,” Pilling said, adding that Hurricane Katrina cost the Navy billions in repairs to its base in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Extreme weather events like hurricanes are made worse by rising sea levels, the report added. Just as the U.S. military was called upon to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, climate change will likely increase calls for military assistance.

However, flooding could hamper the military’s ability to respond. Sea level rise (SLR), which could reach as high as 7 feet by 2100, could submerge large swaths of the U.S. Inundation models by the University of Arizona project that just a 3-foot SLR would cause most of Miami, Fort Myers, the Everglades and the Florida Keys to disappear.

In 2004, Hurricane Ivan forced Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola to close for almost a year, the report noted.

Climate change — whether hotter, drier or wetter — will add stress to U.S. military weapons systems and equipment. “This could compromise troop readiness and strain base resilience,” the report said.

Additionally, strains related to climate change, including water scarcity and extreme weather, could cause an influx of migrants escaping north to the U.S.

While some debate remains in certain circles regarding the cause of climate change, the authors of the report urged the public to “move beyond the arguments of cause and effect” and focus on addressing the “potentially devastating effects” of the clear trend of warming.

“We seem to be standing by, and, frankly, asking for perfectness in science,” Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, former U.S. Army chief of staff and chairman of the Military Advisory Board, said in the report.

“People are saying they want to be convinced, perfectly … We never have 100 percent certainty. We never have it. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield.”

By: Renee Lewis | Al Jazeera |

National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change
- See more at:

Brad H (21)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 8:31 am

Nicole W (646)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 12:36 pm
hope they actually address climate change instead of just trying to pick up the pieces after the fact, ty dear Kit

JL A (281)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 4:14 pm
Glad there is yet another report focused on climate change as a national security issue--past reports did not seem to make it into the national conversation or Congressional perspectives at all.

Angelika R (143)
Friday May 16, 2014, 2:13 pm
I wonder if THIS ONE will.. It has been pointed out in the past as well that climatechange IS a matter of national security.The deniers are probably waiting for the 150% certainty, damned, while everyone else can SEE the certaintly right now as it is happening!

Mitchell D (86)
Friday May 16, 2014, 5:59 pm
Well, does this mean that the climate deniers will be blown away by the effects of climate change, being so much lighter than others because they are so full of hot air?
The RNC isare already caught in tis very own rising tide of idiocy, fear of Homo sapiens (Was that a real newspaper article, or a spoof of idiocy?), or is the devout ignorance of the father to be visited on the child?

Katherine May Williams (0)
Friday May 16, 2014, 6:03 pm

. (0)
Saturday May 17, 2014, 6:32 am

pam w (139)
Saturday May 17, 2014, 7:18 am
Good to see a piece which focuses on the REALITY of the issue...not just the ''threat.''

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday May 17, 2014, 4:11 pm
Thanks, Kit. I don't know what it's going to take to dump dirty energy in exchange for renewable green energy.....
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in Environment

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.