Skip to main Content

Climate change threatens global security, UK and US military assert

Date
08 July 2014
Climate change threatens global security, UK and US military assert

LONDON: The US and the UK have simultaneously released reports which highlight the risk climate change poses to security operations.

In a new study, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recognizes the impact of incidents such as the rise in sea levels and thawing permafrost on the Department of Defense’s (DOD's) military bases, and that a number of facilities are vulnerable to the detrimental effect of runway climate change.

Based on insights provided by the US Department of Defense, the GAO cautions “US infrastructure is vulnerable to the potential impacts of climate change. These could affect DOD's readiness and fiscal exposure.”

The latest US assessment in consistent with previous warnings which noted the severe threat global warming posed to the security of the global order. Speaking at last year’s Climate Week NYC, Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, Chief Executive Officer, American Security Project and member of The Climate Group's International Leadership Council, identified climate change as a ‘threat multiplier,’ or an ‘accelerant of instability’, elaborating that it “it’s already driving internal and cross-border migration. And it’s causing food and water security challenges”.

Similarly, in a recent address in Indonesia US Secretary of State John Kerry likened climate change to a "weapon of mass destruction".

UK GLOBAL STRATEGIC TRENDS 

The GAO’s analysis is supported by a recent study by the UK’s Ministry of Defense, who believe climate change is an important "megatrend” which could place strain on food and water security and lead to civilian displacement.

The authors assert that by 2045 the effects of climate change will be even more pronounced, with droughts and heat waves likely to increase in both frequency and intensity, while the risk of flooding will also rise. Furthermore, due to global interdependency the impact of these phenomena will not be localized to just the region directly affected, the authors assert.

“The growth of cities will provide opportunities to make better use of the world’s resources but will expose many of the millions living in coastal cities to the risks of flooding as rising sea levels and more frequent and destructive weather events begin to test resilience,” Rear Admiral John Kingwell, Director of the Ministry of Defence’s Concepts and Doctrine Centre observed.

These latest developments come at a crucial time in international climate negotiations with the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit just months away. This year The Climate Group is honored to be hosting many of the world’s leaders at our flagship event held during the same week in September, Climate Week NYC 2014, and advances in mitigation and adaptation plans will take center stage.

To learn more, please visit ClimateWeekNYC.org and see the many exciting ways you can join in.

Related news:

Leading voices: Brigadier General Stephen Cheney

US military is amping up its use of clean energy technology across America

By Alana Ryan

Latest from Twitter