• 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

  • Lifestyle

    Film festival kicks off with premier of last movie shot under tax incentive program

    by Bonney Bowman on Dec 03, 17:39

    The Anchorage International Film Festival kicked off Friday night, with the premier of a movie shot right here in our home state. “Sugar Mountain” was the last film made under the tax incentive program, which the state ended due to budget issues. “Sugar Mountain” was shot in Seward, and featured the town and its people. […]

  • Politics

    Green Party drops bid for statewide Pennsylvania recount

    by Associated Press on Dec 03, 17:29

    The Green Party is dropping its court case seeking a statewide recount of Pennsylvania’s Nov. 8 presidential election. It had wanted to explore whether voting machines and systems had been hacked and the election result manipulated. The decision came Saturday, two days before a court hearing in the case. Lawyers for the Green Party-backed voters […]

  • News

    Scholar says China concerned about Trump policy following Taiwan call

    by Associated Press on Dec 03, 17:28

    China’s foreign minister says he hopes Beijing’s relations with the U.S. won’t be “interfered with or damaged” after President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades-long diplomatic tradition and spoke directly with Taiwan’s leader. Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday the call between Taiwan’s president and Trump was “just a […]

  • News

    Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial

    by Associated Press on Dec 03, 17:22

    A former prisoner of war accused of endangering his U.S. comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan is asking President Barack Obama to pardon him before leaving office. White House and Justice Department officials say U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl submitted the clemency request. If granted, it would allow Bergdahl to avert a court-martial […]

  • News

    Officials say up to 40 people may have perished in California warehouse fire

    by KTVA / AP on Dec 03, 15:41

    31st- pic.twitter.com/8TX6jk0iYq — Oakland Firefighters (@OaklandFireLive) December 3, 2016 OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say they fear up to 40 people might have died in a fire at an Oakland, California warehouse, which was hosting an electronic dance party. Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said Saturday that nine people were confirmed dead, and that he […]

  • News

    Bethel fire investigation reveals 2 bodies, police say

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 03, 14:42

    Last updated at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 Two Bethel residents were found dead inside their home after a fire early Saturday morning. Bethel police and fire personnel responded to the fire in the area of Trailer Court just after 1 a.m. and quickly extinguished it, according to a statement from Bethel Police Department […]

  • Weather

    Sitka airport closed after storm forced rocks, debris onto runway

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 03, 14:13

    The Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport was closed for several hours Friday when a storm forced rocks and other debris onto the runway. High winds and heavy seas were blamed for the debris, which stretched across the runway for much of the day, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. “The airport is […]

  • Lifestyle

    A night at the Bethel Winter House

    by Adrian Wagner/KYUK on Dec 03, 13:47

    Bethel’s homeless shelter, Bethel Winter House, opened earlier this week, providing relief from the cold to Bethel’s many in need. A story published by KYUK Public Media showed what it was like for guests on Wednesday night. Around dinnertime, Major Lonnie Upshaw checked a large convection oven. “I’m serving lasagna, and chicken alfredo pasta with rolls tonight,” Upshaw said. […]