Climate change is already affecting US Department of Defense (DOD) installations and infrastructure around the world.
The image above shows a submarine dry-dock in San Diego; the U.S. Navy is concerned that these facilities are vulnerable to ocean storm surges that have recently intensified due to climate change. Just one submarine can cost more than $8 billion and carry nuclear weapons.
Earlier this month, the DOD published the 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, an update to the 2012 version. The report is a response to climate change and the stated goal of making the US more resilient in the face of to severe weather events. The report comes after the Department of Defense’s Quadrennial (QDR) in 2010 by the Secretary of Defense which first mentioned climate change as a strategic policy matter.
According to the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel:
“Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. By taking a proactive, flexible approach to assessment, analysis, and adaptation, the Defense Department will keep pace with a changing climate, minimize its impacts on our missions, and continue to protect our national security.”
US Department of Defense’s roadmap contains four sections: the Policy Framework for Climate Change Adaptation Planning and three “Goal” sections:
- identify and assess the effects of climate change on the DOD
- integrate climate change information into the DOD’s management processes
- collaborate with internal and external stakeholders on climate change challenges
US businesses have reason to be concerned as well. For example, officials in Houston, Texas, one of the major centers of the global petroleum market, realize that their energy producing infrastructure is vulnerable; major damage or incapacitation of energy producing facilities could pose a serious long-term threat and even become a national security matter.
The following video shows infrastructure damage at Fort Irwin.
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