Antarctic Climate Change Impact – US National Security and the Threat of Climate Change

aguilaThis is a challenging report issued in May 2014 by the CNA Military Advisory Board.

Much has been written about the climate change impact on South Antarctic commercial activities and overall species’ habitat within the South Antarctic region.  This report adds interesting insight through the lens of the military.

The report states that the projected climate change is a complex multi-decade challenge. Without action to build resilience, it will increase security risks over much of the planet. It will not only increase threats to developing nations in resource-challenged parts of the world, but it will also test the security of nations with robust capabilities.

Even though we may not have 100 percent certainty as to the cause or even the exact magnitude of the impacts, the risks associated with projected climate change warrant taking action today to plan and prepare for changes in several communities.

When it comes to thinking through long-term global challenges, most senior military leaders have decades of experience managing risk and responding to conflict on the battlefield, and they are also experts in geopolitical analysis and long-range strategic planning, looking at challenges with imperfect or conflicting information.

It is through this analytical prism that 11 retired Generals and Admirals came together in 2007, under the moniker of CNA’s Military Advisory Board, to examine the security implications of climate change. Their landmark report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, was the first time that such an elite body of military leaders expressed their concern over the security implications of climate change.

Seven years later, the Military Advisory Board has gathered again to re-examine the nexus of projected climate change and national security. This update reflects their decades of experience as risk managers and geopolitical security experts.

The update makes a compelling case that climate change is no longer a future threat—it is taking place now. It observes that climate change serves as a catalyst of conflict in vulnerable parts of the world, and that projected changes in global migration patterns will make the challenges even more severe. It identifies threats to infrastructure and US ability to maintain military readiness.

The update makes clear that actions to build resilience against the projected impacts of climate change are required today.

Full report at National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change

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Dimitri Sclabos

Founder and Co-owner