"Climate change will affect the Department of Defense's ability to defend the Nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security."
US Department of Defense, October 2014.
In a case of denialists linking to denialists linking to denialists linking to denialists... A retweet by Anthony Watts alerted me to an article at Climate Depot, which was a repost of an article by the HockeySchtick, which was a repost of an irrational and scatty article at the Wall Street Journal.
From there I went to Google, which took me to a climate website, Bellona.org, which linked to a climate change plan from the US Department of Defense.
2014 Climate Adaptation Roadmap
The US Department of Defense has released its 2014 Climate Adaptation Roadmap. It lists three goals:
- Goal 1: Identify and assess the effects of climate change on the Department.
- Goal 2: Integrate climate change considerations across the Department and manage associated risks.
- Goal 3: Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders on climate change challenges.
The document lists four lines of effort to support those three goals:
- Plans and Operations include the activities dedicated to preparing for and carrying out the full range of military operations. Also included are the operating environments in the air, on land, and at sea, at home and abroad, that shape the development of plans and execution of operations.
- Training and Testing are critical to maintaining a capable and ready Force in the face of a rapidly changing strategic setting. Access to land, air, and sea space that replicate the operational environment for training and testing is essential to readiness.
- Built and Natural Infrastructure are both necessary for successful mission preparedness and readiness. While built infrastructure serves as the staging platform for the Department’s national defense and humanitarian missions, natural infrastructure also supports military combat readiness by providing realistic combat conditions and vital resources to personnel.
- Acquisition and Supply Chain include the full range of developing, acquiring, fielding, and sustaining equipment and services and leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet the Department’s current and future needs, including requirements analysis.
Climate change multiplies threats
The introduction to the report states that the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty and conflict will be intensified by climate change:
Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe.
In our defense strategy, we refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier” because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today – from infectious disease to terrorism. We are already beginning to see some of these impacts.
A changing climate will have real impacts on our military and the way it executes its missions. The military could be called upon more often to support civil authorities, and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the face of more frequent and more intense natural disasters. Our coastal installations are vulnerable to rising sea levels and increased flooding, while droughts, wildfires, and more extreme temperatures could threaten many of our training activities. Our supply chains could be impacted, and we will need to ensure our critical equipment works under more extreme weather conditions. Weather has always affected military operations, and as the climate changes, the way we execute operations may be altered or constrained.
While scientists are converging toward consensus on future climate projections, uncertainty remains. But this cannot be an excuse for delaying action. Every day, our military deals with global uncertainty. Our planners know that, as military strategist Carl von Clausewitz wrote, “all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight.”
You can download the DoD document here. It's quite short - only twenty pages.