• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 33s

Climate change poses national security risks, says military report

By CBS News 9:15 AM May 14, 2014

Climate change poses a severe risk to national security, according to a new report, and if it continues at the current rates, it is a “catalyst for conflict.”

“The nature and pace of observed climate changes — and an emerging scientific consensus on their projected consequences — pose severe risks for our national security,” opens the report, produced by a group of retired military officers for the government-funded organization CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board.

Released Tuesday, the report pinpointed several regional conflicts in the Middle East and Africa that have been sparked by drought and food shortages.Rising sea levels threaten the food supply and general safety in coastal regions such as eastern India, Bangladesh and Vietnam, and will likely lead to conflicts as refugees flee the areas.

Another potential area for conflict, according to the report’s authors, is the Arctic. As sea ice melts and more areas become navigable by ship, tensions could rise with Russia.

The increase in the strength of severe weather events, which has already impacted the U.S., the Philippines, Malaysia and other areas, will create greater demand for American troops to aid in rescue and recovery efforts. Therefore, the government needs to plan accordingly, the report says.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the report, which builds on one issued in 2007, will impact American foreign policy decisions, according to The New York Times. “Tribes are killing each other over water today,” Kerry said. “Think of what happens if you have massive dislocation, or the drying up of the waters of the Nile, of the major rivers in China and India. The intelligence community takes it seriously, and it’s translated into action.” Kerry added that this summer, he will make a speech addressing the link between climate change and national security.

The report comes on the heels of the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review. Released in March, it drew a link between climate change and terrorism.

“These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad, such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability and social tensions — conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence,” stated the review.

In Tuesday’s report, the authors stated that the threat of climate change can be compared with previous military threats.

“During our decades of experience in the U.S. military, we have addressed many national security challenges, from containment and deterrence of the Soviet nuclear threat during the Cold War to political extremism and transnational terrorism in recent years,” they wrote. “The national security risks of projected climate change are as serious as any challenges we have faced.”

To address the risks, the report offered six recommendations centered around climate adaptation planning, better infrastructure planning, energy conservation, and increased efforts “to prepare for increased access and military operations in the Arctic.”

The authors added that the U.S. has an opportunity to be a global leader in efforts to “develop sustainable and more efficient energy solutions to help slow climate change.”

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Stories

  • News

    UPDATE: Horseshoe Lake Fire reaches 25 acres

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 15:51

    Crews are working to contain a fire, located off Millers Reach Road north of Big Lake. Early Sunday afternoon, authorities were alerted to the fire. Named the Horshoe Lake Fire, it has reached about 25 acres, as of 8 p.m. Sunday. Both helicopters and ground crews are assisting in the containment efforts, according to Norm […]

  • Crime

    Man stabbed in face after altercation in downtown Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 15:05

    Police say a young adult male suffered a severe stab wound to his face early Sunday morning after an altercation in downtown Anchorage. Around 2:40 a.m. the Anchorage Police Department received a report of a possible stabbing near Seventh Avenue and D Street. It was reported to police that a group of males got into a […]

  • News

    President Obama to announce renaming of Mount McKinley to Denali

    by Sierra Starks on Aug 30, 13:01

    During his trip to Alaska, President Barack Obama will announce that the federal government has officially restored the name of Denali to the mountain previously known as Mount McKinley. “Today, finalizing a process initiated by the State of Alaska in 1975, President Obama is announcing that the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell used her […]

  • Lifestyle

    1st weekend of Alaska State Fair kicks off with parade

    by Eric Ruble on Aug 30, 11:52

    The first weekend of the Alaska State Fair kicked off with a parade in downtown Palmer. Forty-five different floats traveled down South Alaska Street, each stopping for 30 seconds at the grandstand to be judged by a panel. Groups from around Southcentral Alaska created their own unique floats that were dispersed between tractors and dozens […]

  • Crime

    Man charged in East Anchorage double homicide

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 10:37

    Anchorage police have arrested and charged a man in a double homicide that occurred in January. Michael Dorell Kelvin Reynold, 22, was taken into custody on Saturday in connection with the shooting deaths of 27-year-old Christian Haynes and 23-year-old Krystal Hawk, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department. Haynes and Hawk, a couple, were […]

  • News

    Dillingham plans to voice erosion concerns during President Obama’s visit

    by Emily Carlson on Aug 29, 18:50

    When Dillingham residents are asked what their land means to them, the answer is simple — it’s home. Many fear that, due to erosion, they will not only lose their land but also the culture that’s been built upon those shores.

  • News

    Gov. Walker to fly with President Obama to Alaska

    by Associated Press on Aug 29, 13:15

    Gov. Bill Walker will fly to Alaska with President Barack Obama on Monday. Walker’s office announced in a release Saturday that Walker will accompany the president aboard Air Force One from Washington, D.C. The president will address a State Department global warming conference Monday afternoon in Anchorage. He also has visits planned in Seward, Dillingham […]

  • Crime

    UPDATE: Suspect sought in connection with 1 of the overnight shootings in Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 29, 8:03

    Anchorage police say two men were injured in shootings that happened in the overnight hours between Friday and Saturday. APD is now seeking a suspect, Michael Sharp, in connection with one of those shootings. On Friday, officers went to two homes in response to a verbal altercation between three people, a 23-year-old woman, her 23-year […]