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Ohio’s Toledo Blade published an editorial this past Monday on “Climate and security” which highlights the National Research Council’s recently released report “Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis,” which was commissioned by the CIA. The editorial stresses the need for policy-makers to act on climate change, emphasizing the implications of inaction for the U.S. military, and stability in vulnerable regions of the world. From the editorial:
The report warns military leaders to expect turmoil if abnormal climate patterns allow extremist groups to gain a stronger foothold in the parched Middle East, starved regions of Africa, and other historically unstable parts of the world.
Some military leaders, including a former head of Central Command, warn that the United States will “pay the price later in military terms” if it postpones action now.
The former head of Central Command that the editorial refers to is four-star General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), who made the comments in an influential report prepared by CNA’s Military Advisory Board titled “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change.”
In short, the U.S. military is taking climate change very seriously, and civilian policy-makers in the United States should follow suit.
As part of a national tour, General Ronald Keys (Ret., USAF), and British Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti recently spoke to the Energy Innovation Business Council of Michigan on the security imperative of developing alternative energies and combating climate change. According to MLive, Retired General Keys, who is a member of CNA’s Military Advisory Board, stated: “This is not a passing fad or a bunch of folks hugging trees…For us, this is serious business.” Speaking to the security rationale for energy efficiency and alternative fuel-development, General Keys also highlighted the significant dangers involved in protecting fuel convoys on the field of battle, which have cause around 10% of soldier deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to General Keys: “If we can reduce the amount of convoys, we’ll reduce the amount of blood spilled…Every gallon of fuel is a vulnerability and puts people in harm’s way. That is why the Department of Defense cares about this so much.”
Rear Admiral Morisetti followed with his assessment of the security implications of climate change: “Climate change will increase the stress in parts of the world where we will see instability in areas that we have had conflicts for the past 30 years.”
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CNA recently released a memo focused on an important yet little-explored impact of climate change: the effect of rising temperatures on energy use at key U.S. military installations across the country. The conclusion: Higher costs, and adaptations in building design as well as heating and cooling systems, are likely on the horizon. (more…)