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International Analysis: A Hostile Climate

On October 13, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered a major address on climate security at the Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas in Lima, Peru. During his speech, he announced the release of the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) most comprehensive Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap to date.

If there was any doubt before, it is now clear that the United States recognizes the growing national security risks associated with climate change. While imminent threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)and Ebola dominate the headlines, the DoD roadmap affirms that the national security risks of climate change are pervasive and accelerating, and must be included in planning and action today.

The new roadmap requires that the United States work with its allies and partners to strengthen global resilience to climate disruption, including impacts on current and future military operations. In his remarks, Hagel stressed that climate change will affect the DoD’s ability to defend the nation, and that it poses tangible, long-term security risks to the United States and other nations around the world.

The DoD recognizes that when projected changes in the climate are combined with rapid global population growth, especially in coastal and urban areas, there are large security risks – particularly in an era of complex changes in the global security environment.

Whether it is chronic drought, loss of living area due to rising sea levels, more extreme weather events, or increases in vector-borne or heat-related disease, migration or forced population displacement will be an increasing adaptation to the changing climate. As we have recently witnessed in Syria and Iraq, if conducted haphazardly, forced displacements onto already stressed systems will increase the likelihood of conflict and violence. To lower the risk of conflict, we must recognize these threats, take actions to avoid them, and provide early warning.

For the complete article, please see Peruvian Times.