Climate change poses a serious threat to U.S. military operations and will lead to new sources of global political conflict, the Department of Defense wrote in its new climate adaptation plan this week.
Water shortages could become a primary source of friction or conflict between U.S. military overseas and the countries where troops are based, the department warned. It also expects that political efforts to mitigate food and water shortages will result in more frequent physical and cyber terrorist attacks from unknown third parties.
Extreme weather events made worse by climate change, including droughts, storms and floods, have already cost the department billions of dollars, according to the plan. An increase in extreme weather events will create more demand for U.S. troops while damaging military bases, degrading mission capabilities and putting service members at risk.
Countries enduring conflict are disproportionately vulnerable to climate change. More than a dozen nations vulnerable to global warming are also mired in conflict, according to an index by the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative. The combination worsens food and economic insecurity and weakens the capacity of governments to provide support, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a recent report. [Continue reading…]