blind_html [Nimer's Political Blog] [Fwd: .Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security]

  • From: Nimer Jaber <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2009 14:18:41 -0700 (PDT)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: .Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security
Date: Sun, 9 Aug 2009 06:12:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: mike532 <littlemike532@xxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: politics-current-events@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: Politics & Current Events <politics-current-events@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

.Climate Change Seen as Threat to U.S. Security
WASHINGTON — The changing global climate will pose profound strategic
challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the
prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent
storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and
intelligence analysts say.
Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist
movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at
the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are
taking a serious look at the national security implications of

Recent war games and intelligence studies conclude that over the next
20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa,
the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect
of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by
climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or
military response.

An exercise last December at the National Defense University, an
educational institute that is overseen by the military, explored the
potential impact of a destructive flood in Bangladesh that sent
hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming into neighboring India,
touching off religious conflict, the spread of contagious diseases
vast damage to infrastructure. "It gets real complicated real
quickly," said Amanda J. Dory, the deputy assistant secretary of
defense for strategy, who is working with a Pentagon group assigned
incorporate climate change into national security strategy planning.

Much of the public and political debate on global warming has focused
on finding substitutes for fossil fuels, reducing emissions that
contribute to greenhouse gases and furthering negotiations toward an
international climate treaty — not potential security challenges.

But a growing number of policy makers say that the world's rising
temperatures, surging seas and melting glaciers are a direct threat
the national interest.

If the United States does not lead the world in reducing fossil-fuel
consumption and thus emissions of global warming gases, proponents of
this view say, a series of global environmental, social, political
possibly military crises loom that the nation will urgently have to

This argument could prove a fulcrum for debate in the Senate next
month when it takes up climate and energy legislation passed in June
by the House.

Lawmakers leading the debate before Congress are only now beginning
make the national security argument for approving the legislation.

Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is the chairman of
the Foreign Relations Committee and a leading advocate for the
legislation, said he hoped to sway Senate skeptics by pressing that
issue to pass a meaningful bill.

Mr. Kerry said he did not know whether he would succeed but had
with 30 undecided senators on the matter.

He did not identify those senators, but the list of undecided
many from coal and manufacturing states and from the South and
Southeast, which will face the sharpest energy price increases from
any carbon emissions control program.

"I've been making this argument for a number of years," Mr. Kerry
said, "but it has not been a focus because a lot of people had not
connected the dots." He said he had urged President Obama to make the
case, too.

Mr. Kerry said the continuing conflict in southern Sudan, which has
killed and displaced tens of thousands of people, is a result of
drought and expansion of deserts in the north. "That is going to be
repeated many times over and on a much larger scale," he said.

The Department of Defense's assessment of the security issue came
about after prodding by Congress to include climate issues in its
strategic plans — specifically, in 2008 budget authorizations by
Hillary Rodham Clinton and John W. Warner, then senators. The
department's climate modeling is based on sophisticated Navy and Air
Force weather programs and other government climate research programs
at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Pentagon and the State Department have studied issues arising
dependence on foreign sources of energy for years but are only now
considering the effects of global warming in their long-term planning
documents. The Pentagon will include a climate section in the
Quadrennial Defense Review, due in February; the State Department
address the issue in its new Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development

"The sense that climate change poses security and geopolitical
challenges is central to the thinking of the State Department and the
climate office," said Peter Ogden, chief of staff to Todd Stern, the
State Department's top climate negotiator.

Although military and intelligence planners have been aware of the
challenge posed by climate changes for some years, the Obama
administration has made it a central policy focus.

A changing climate presents a range of challenges for the military.
Many of its critical installations are vulnerable to rising seas and
storm surges. In Florida, Homestead Air Force Base was essentially
destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and Hurricane Ivan badly
damaged Naval Air Station Pensacola in 2004. Military planners are
studying ways to protect the major naval stations in Norfolk, Va.,
San Diego from climate-induced rising seas and severe storms.

Another vulnerable installation is Diego Garcia, an atoll in the
Indian Ocean that serves as a logistics hub for American and British
forces in the Middle East and sits a few feet above sea level.

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Posted By Nimer Jaber to Nimer's Political Blog at 8/09/2009 03:18:00 PM

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