September 16, 2016

U.S. Military Leaders Speak Up on Climate Change.

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While climate change has a reputation for being a polarizing, partisan issue, one bipartisan group made up of U.S. military and national security experts has banded together to speak out about climate change.

The Climate Security Consensus Project, a panel of 25 experts on national security and military, released a letter of consensus today.

“We the undersigned members of the U.S. national security community conclude that the effects of climate change present a strategically-significant risk to U.S. national security and international security, and that the U.S. must advance a comprehensive policy for addressing this risk,” begins the letter.

Members of the Climate Security Consensus Project include Hon. Dov Zakheim, Former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) under President George W. Bush, and Dr. Geoffrey Kemp, former Special Assistant to President Reagan for National Security Affairs.

The statement was released in tandem with a briefing book with suggestions on addressing security-related climate change issues for the next president of the United States, as well as a report on Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission. The releases also coincide with the first annual Climate and National Security Forum held in Washington, D.C. today, available via Livestream.

“These reports make it crystal clear. To national security and defense leaders, there’s absolutely nothing political about climate change. It’s a security risk, it makes other security risks worse, and we need to do something big about it,” reads a statement from Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, Co-Presidents at the Center for Climate and Security.

The group is expressing concern about the myriad of threats climate change poses, but specifically focuses on security-related issues, such as rising sea levels putting U.S. military bases at risk, and the possibility of mass migration and increased conflict as some areas of Earth become uninhabitable.

The briefing book focuses on solutions, including tasking an increasing concentration of high-level officials with tackling climate security issues.

“There are few easy answers, but one thing is clear: the current trajectory of climatic change presents a strategically-significant risk to U.S. national security, and inaction is not a viable option,” the report concludes.

News like this, while unsettling as it highlights the risks of climate change, is actually good news.

Hopefully this bi-partisan effort will prompt our next administration to assertively address climate change. For more about what you can do as an individual to fight climate change:

EPA: What You Can Do

Union of Concerned Scientists


Author: Lynn Shattuck

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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