15 October 2014
If they will, there's hope for them, and their country, yet. According to the Pentagon, global warming is changing the way the U.S. military trains for and goes to war. Strategic planners have long believed that climate change has the potential to provoke hostilities over migration and food shortages, make old conflicts worse, and present new military challenges in the Arctic.
In a Pentagon report that came out just this week, Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel wrote, "A changing climate will have real impacts on our military and the way it executes its missions. We are considering the impacts of climate change in our war games and defence planning scenarios." The report pointed out that military installations and personnel are already exposed to climate change. For example, Virginia's Hampton Roads area, which contains the country's largest concentration of military forces and already floods during high tides and severe storms, could see sea levels rise half a metre over the next 20 years. Military bases in the southwest face water and electricity shortages due to droughts, and Arctic installations are shifting because of melting permafrost. The Pentagon is worried about global warming before they even rev up a tank, and their concerns increase along with climate change.
So will the Republicans pay attention to their fighting men? If nothing else will convince them of the seriousness of global warming, will a threat to their ability to fight wars do the job? So far it has not. Republicans have used their majority in the House of Representatives to preclude efforts by the Pentagon to adjust to global warming. For a party obsessed with national security, they have displayed a remarkable disdain for their country's greatest threat. Let us hope for all our sakes that as their military increasingly sounds the alarm, they will be forced to accept the inconvenient truth.
Posted by Bill Longstaff at 5:43 pm