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U.S. Military Warned to Prepare for Climate Change

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 By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian

The Pentagon was warned on Friday to stand guard against "climate surprises" which could throw off its efforts to secure America's future. 

An expert report, prepared for the intelligence community by the National Academy of Sciences, warns that the security establishment is going to have start planning for natural disasters, sea level rise, drought, epidemics and the other consequences of climate change

The U.S. military has already cited facilities like Eglin air force base in Florida as being particularly at risk due to rising sea levels.
Credit: AP

The Pentagon already ranks climate change as a national security threat, putting U.S. troops in danger around the world and adding fuel to existing conflicts. More than 30 U.S. bases are threatened by sea level rise. It has also identified potential new danger zones, such as sub-Saharan Africa.

The military is also working to cut back on its fuel costs in an age of budget austerity, by installing solar arrays and wind turbines, and monitoring electricity use.

But Friday's report suggests strategic planners are going to have make sweeping adjustments to their planning to take account of climate change over the next decade and beyond.

Current scenarios could be thrown completely askew by "climate surprises," the report said. These could be a single catastrophic event — such as a food price shock — or a cascade of reactions that could ultimately put America at risk. "It makes sense for the intelligence community to apply a scenario approach in thinking about potentially disruptive events," the report said. "It may make sense to consider the security implications of two or three more plausible trends as a way to anticipate risks." 

The study also recommends a crash course for intelligence analysts on the potential threat posed by sea level rise, drought, food shortages and other consequences of climate change. "It is essential for the intelligence community to understand adaptation and changes in vulnerability to climate events," it said. 

Reprinted with permission from The Guardian 

Comments

By Matteo Convertino (Gainesville/FL/32611)
on November 11th, 2012

In this project we widely studied the effect of SLR on Eglin. Many publications have been developed out of this project. Moreover we developed tools that can have immediate application for environmental management of the coastal ecosystems considering the needs of habitat, military mission, and SLR.

See here and overview

http://serdp-estcp.org/Program-Areas/Resource-Conservation-and-Climate-Change/Natural-Resources/Coastal-and-Estuarine-Ecology-and-Management/RC-1699

Don`t hesitate to contact me for any information

Reply to this comment

By Dave (Basking Ridge, NJ 07920)
on November 11th, 2012

This particular study is of course not the first the Pentagon has heard on this subject although the attention grabbing headline here might falsely convey that impression. The US Pentagon is not typically or logically considered an environmentalist organization. However, over the years, aside from waging wars, they have also in fact been taking climate change quite seriously. They have invested a lot in climate change R&D and renewable energy in efforts to not only green up the US military ”“ as odd as that may sound - but also analyze and estimate the broad impacts of climate change around the world. They battled politically against the Bush climate change denier doctrine during his long tenure, although I think it is fair to say that this was under reported at the time. By all the accounts I have seen, the Pentagon fosters a high level conviction that climate change poses a distinct and major threat to national and global security. Hypothetically and ironically, if the US were to ever become a military dictatorship then it appears that it would at least be green!

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By deon geldenhuys
on November 11th, 2012

a possible future scenario threatening security could be an earthquake triggering a tsunami or at least raising sea levels when ice on Greenland and Iceland have melted to levels that cause tectonic plate movement of the north American plate and the plate displacing water.

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