In a report to Congress, the U.S. military for the first time is warning that the effects of climate change may cause or exacerbate future global conflicts and complicate U.S. missions worldwide.
In its regular Quadrennial Defense Review, the Defense Department warns that the effects of a warming world, including increased poverty, hunger and disease, could further weaken fragile governments and perhaps provoke mass migrations.
“While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden on civilian institutions and militaries around the world,” the report suggests.
And citing research that finds climate-related changes “in every region of the world,” the Defense Department concludes that U.S. forces will increasingly confront the effects of climate change, including extreme weather conditions and rising seas.
The document describes the need not just to respond to the effects of climate change, but to adopt policies that will lessen the environmental impacts of military operations, including a reduction in the use of fuel in U.S. missions.
Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360
photo: US Army Korea