What if the U.S. Navy’s main base in Norfolk, Virginia sinks? It could happen. And it’s not an isolated problem, as climate change alters coastlines all over the world.
A report from the American Security Project identifies Naval Station Norfolk as America’s fifth most endangered military base. The report also lists Eglin in Florida, Diego Garcia, Bahrain and Guam as being particularly vulnerable to climate change.
Probably more than any other service—and possibly more than any other government agency—the Navy has taken climate change seriously. The sailing branch is making a long-term commitment to biofuels project as part of its Green Fleet initiative.
The Navy’s interest isn’t accidental. If accompanied by the melting of Arctic ice and rising sea levels, climate change could dramatically affect how the Navy does its job. Global warming has the potential to open up new areas for patrol, but it also puts littoral populations at risk of humanitarian disaster.
Littoral populations including the Navy’s own people.
No American naval installation is more important than Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world. Norfolk services the Navy’s largest carriers and amphibious warships and also functions as a major naval air center. The loss of Norfolk or—just as important—the loss of the workforce’s homes, would have devastating consequences.
In addition to a general rise in sea levels, climate change could create much more powerful storms. One from the Army Corps of Engineers study suggested that such storms could devastate Norfolk.
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