• 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

    Denali Park bear incidents leave one injured, close trails and parking lots

    by Megan Edge on Jun 24, 21:16

    Two bear incidents at Denali National Park this week have led park officials to close parking lots and trails. According to a park release, a small, subadult brown bear charged vehicles by the Primrose area and charged visitors near the Savage River in the Denali Park Road area. Then, on Wednesday, the same bear charged […]

  • Politics

    Judge denies attempt to prolong Medicaid legislation

    by Associated Press on Jun 24, 20:27

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – A state judge has denied an attempt to prolong litigation challenging Gov. Bill Walker’s authority to unilaterally expand Medicaid. The Friday action stems from a lawsuit filed by the Alaska Legislative Council against Walker last summer. The case was dismissed by a state court judge in March. The Alaska House subsequently […]

  • News

    Alaska Zoo welcomes new male wolverine

    by Heather Hintze on Jun 24, 20:20

    The Alaska Zoo, in Anchorage, welcomed a new male wolverine earlier this week. Jumbo arrived from Sweden on Wednesday. The 3-year-old male is on exhibit, but is quarantined from his partner Olga for the next few weeks. Olga came from a zoo in Russia last fall. Zookeeper Kora Isakson said the goal is to hopefully […]

  • News

    Veteran advocate takes last ride, laid to rest at Fort Richardson National Cemetery

    by Shannon Ballard on Jun 24, 20:12

    An iconic figure in Alaska’s military and motorcycle communities was remembered for his life of service. Fred “Bulldog” Becker IV dedicated much of his life to advocating for veterans on behalf of the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association and other groups. Becker passed away on June 11. He was 73 years old. Friends and family say […]

  • News

    Brown bear spotted near South Anchorage Neighborhood

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 24, 19:36

    Some people who live in a South Anchorage neighborhood are worried about a brown bear that’s been spotted near by. Deborah Baines owns The Learning Farm on Gander Drive, not far from Lake Otis and Huffman. She runs a day camp at the farm, and said on any given day, it’s filled with animals and […]

  • Sports

    Chugiak’s Alev Kelter taking a unique route to Olympics

    by Jake Edmonds on Jun 24, 19:12

    Last updated at 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 24 Alev Kelter is weeks away from joining Team USA Rugby in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She always dreamed of representing her country at the games, but this was not what she had in mind. After graduating from Chugiak High School in 2009, […]

  • News

    Company applies to be Juneau’s first pot-testing laboratory

    by Associated Press on Jun 24, 18:28

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – A Juneau company has applied to be the first marijuana testing business in Alaska’s capital. The Juneau Empire (http://bit.ly/28WfumQ) reports Southeast Alaska Laboratories LLC has applied for a city conditional use permit and a state marijuana establishment license. Glacier Analytics, another potential testing lab, plans to turn in permitting paperwork next […]

  • News

    One killed in Hoonah vehicle crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jun 24, 16:49

    Alaska State Troopers say they’re investigating a deadly vehicle crash in Hoonah that killed one Friday morning. The overturned vehicle was found on Long Island Road, troopers wrote in an online dispatch. Another adult involved in the incident was taken to Juneau for medical treatment, the agency said. The names of the injured and the deceased are […]