Climate change does not respect borders and we must work together to fight its threats. These are not the words of a ‘tree-hugger’, but the US Department of Defense.
A recently published report says that extreme weather, rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall and rising oceans could fuel armed insurgency and heighten the impact of a pandemic, through their effects on political instability, poverty, migration and resource disputes.
It warns that developments like these could undermine fragile governments and challenge stable ones, creating “an avenue for extremist ideologies and conditions that foster terrorism”.
The roadmap, intended to prepare the US military for climate change, reveals that more than 7000 US military installations have already been surveyed for vulnerability. Some sites have even begun to prepare for sea-level rises.
The report also notes that rising seas may affect amphibious landings, while extreme weather could interfere with reconnaissance flights over foreign territory.
It points out that the military may increasingly be called upon to help civil authorities when natural disasters occur.
“We must be clear-eyed about the security threats presented by climate change, and we must be proactive in addressing them;’ said US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as he launched the report in Arequipa, Peru.
Department of Defense (2014) 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.acq.osd.mil/ie/download/CCARprint.pdf. [Accessed: 01 November, 2014].