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State of the Union: Pentagon Recognizes “Immediate Risks” Posed by Climate Change

Army_Gen._Martin_E._Dempsey,_chairman_of_the_Joint_Chiefs_of_Staff,_and_other_defense_leaders_cited_in_President_Barack_Obama's_State_of_the_Union_address_at_t_140128-D-XXXB-004aIn his State of the Union address last night, President Obama recognized the Pentagon’s concerns about the security risks of a changing climate, stating:

The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.

This statement is a direct reference to the Department of Defense’s 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (DoD-CCAR), released on October 14 of last year, the first line of which is:

Climate change will affect the DoD’s ability to defend the nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security.

This recognition by the Pentagon is significant, as it suggests to policy-makers that climate change merits immediate attention on national security grounds.

The DoD-CCAR was hailed by military and national security leaders outside the Administration as well, including from members of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board.

For more, read the full DoD-CCAR here.

1 Comment

  1. Pentagon study is likely referring to active hot wars funded by the US govt. If we are provincially defending our own nation rather than the globe, then the military is not yet deeply involved Another interpretation is that there are already massive casualties from global warming that will be increasing with time.

    Yet even now we see a type of climate change triage of sorts…Casualties from a policy and economic war that does not yet deploy uniformed troops, but one that is harsh and real to many. Many climate injuries have been ignored, and more will be. Where are climate refugees going? Are famine and disease counted as casualties of global warming? Storms, floods and drought victims? What is the difference between a global casualty of climate change and a domestic one?

    This climate triage may not be officially declared, but certainly large populations will be so categorized, And the top category will get the very best protection and care. Yet for a sizable population described as not quite at risk, yet not safe, their triage category is not yet decided. That’s the group that may involve active civil strife and regional conflicts. That’s the population of the DoD concern – mass migrations that are not peaceful, those requiring quarantine, those brandishing arms and WMDs, the highly stressed, etc.

    Keep in mind that human civilization has never tried to exist under the climate conditions that we are entering now. All the rules, all the challenges will be new and untested. Military scenarios are all untested conjecture. Perhaps the bigger question for any military force is whether it should deploy in support of a global mitigation policy to extend global sustainability. And the related question of whether ANY military force should ever be used to support selective adaptation for any climate advantaged population. .

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