As the effects of climate change are being felt throughout the world, the US military is also growing more concerned. Military experts say that climate change may also pose a security risk to the nation.
The Center for Naval Analyses (CAN), a government funded research group, has recently published a report detailing the possible security risks that climate change could pose to the US. The report, which was published last Thursday, indicates that worsening climate change could lead to droughts in hotbed locations such as Africa and the Middle East. The onset of droughts could lead to food shortages, which in turn could spark escalating conflict across borders and multiple ethnic groups in troubled areas.
"Projected climate change is a complex multi-decade challenge," says the CNA report. "Without action to build resilience, it will increase security risks over much of the planet."
Aside from the possibility of droughts and food shortages escalating into violence, one of the most visible effects of climate change comes in the form of rising sea levels. Increasing global sea levels could cause the displacement of millions of people living in coastal areas. Possible problem areas in terms of rising sea levels include Vietnam, Bangladesh and India. Military researchers are concerned that the displacement of coastal human settlements could lead to a massive influx of refugees for many developed nations.
" It will not only increase threats to developing nations in resource-challenged parts of the world, but it will also test the security of nations with robust capability, including significant elements of our National Power here at home," the CNA report says. "Even though we may not have 100 percent certainty as to the cause or even the exact magnitude of the impacts, the risks associated with projected climate change warrant taking action today to plan and prepare for changes in our communities, at home and abroad. "
Armed conflicts and refugees aside, climate change has also brought about a recent string of natural disasters that could put a strain on the response capabilities of the US military. Catastrophes such as the recent typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines late last year, had relief teams from various nations including the US scrambling to respond on time. Moreover, natural catastrophes such as very strong typhoons and hurricanes can also damage US military facilities around the world. Naval ports are particularly susceptible to extreme weather disturbances.
While the report emphasizes the possible dangers of climate change with regards to the US military, some politicians who are doubtful about the veracity of climate change have dismissed the report.