• 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

  • Sports

    East High alum donates big bucks for scoreboard

    by Dave Leval on May 28, 23:51

    Donnell Page will enter his senior year in the fall at East High School, but one thing he has never done is play a football game on campus. “I’d sure like to play here. It’d be more motivational, bigger incentive to win,” said the Thunderbirds offensive and defensive lineman. Page may get his wishskemp as […]

  • News

    Mission: Memorial Day team forced to leave Denali before summitting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 28, 23:36

    A team of military veterans aiming for Denali’s peak in a tribute to fallen service members was forced to turn back Thursday. Mission: Memorial Day expedition leader Josh Jespersen said in a Facebook video that conditions took a turn for the worst on Thursday, with white out conditions and the potential for an avalanche. Jespersen said […]

  • News

    Anchorage Assembly discusses marijuana local options with ABC Board

    by Shannon Ballard on May 28, 23:19

    As Alaska gets closer to passing its first draft of marijuana regulations, the Anchorage Assembly is asking, “What can the city control?” Local leaders, rule makers, and entrepreneurs got together Thursday to lay it all out. The state’s proposed marijuana regulations will come out in three sets. Recently the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board released the […]

  • Politics

    Debate on state’s budget continues

    by Kate McPherson on May 28, 23:13

    Amendments to the state’s 2016 operating budget were debated for most of Thursday, with the House of Representatives adjourning around 10:30 p.m. without a vote. The House took up the budget bill, CS House Bill 2001, after Republican leadership offered a budget deal Wednesday that would restore $16.5 million to the Base Student Allocation and […]

  • News

    Troopers: Missing woman found dead in Southwest Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 28, 21:43

    The body of a 30-year-old missing woman was found Wednesday morning after she didn’t show up for work in the Aleutian village of Akutan, authorities say. Tuesday afternoon, the Akutan Village Public Safety Officer notified Alaska State Troopers that 30-year-old Yuliana Zazueca of Bakersfield, California, was missing and did not show up for her shift at […]

  • News

    Volcano erupts on southern Japanese island

    by Associated Press on May 28, 20:32

      TOKYO – A volcano is erupting on a small island in southern Japan, and authorities have ordered residents to evacuate the island. Mount Shindake erupted in spectacular fashion about 10 a.m. local time Friday, spewing towering black-gray clouds into the sky. No injuries have been reported, although the Japan Meteorological Agency reports that pyroclastic […]

  • News

    New partnership works to create pit bull ambassadors

    by Bonney Bowman on May 28, 20:21

    A new partnership is working to change how people see pit bulls, making local dogs ambassadors for their breed. New owner Crystal Hermosura and her 7-month-old pit bull Kenai have started working on basic obedience skills. “She loves ball,” Hermosura said. “We’re still working on drop it though. Dropping it is still kind of hard […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, May 28

    by KTVA Weather on May 28, 20:09

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Sunny and warmer.   Southeast Decreasing clouds with patch fog in the morning as the ridge of high pressure continues to bring quiet and stable weather.   Interior/North Slope Mostly sunny with patchy morning fog except for northern areas like fort yukon where there will be some clouds and a chance […]