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Pentagon: Climate Change Threatens National Security


Pentagon officials have once again warned that climate change is a serious threat to national security and a major source of global unrest.

"There are many factors that lead to terrorism," said retired Brig. Gen. Dr. Stephen Xenakis, according to KNPR. "There are many factors that lead people to do these kinds of violent acts and threaten our country. One of the major factors is how their communities are destabilized."

Xenakis went on to describe climate change a "multiplier," which means that it's one of several factors that can lead to instability. That's because climate change affects weather, which in turn affects the supply of food, water, and even shelter -- the most basic necessities for human life.

And when the basic necessities of life are in short supply, unrest and instability soon follow.

‶When we do our planning and think about what we need to do to keep our country safe and secure, we should keep in mind that the best we can do to sustain people’s communities and support their livelihood can be a major factor in helping us and our national security,″ he said.

The Pentagon has been quite vocal about the impact climate change has on national security and global unrest.

In 2015, the Pentagon released a report titled, "Security Implications of Climate Change."

The report found that climate change is indeed a security risk "because it degrades living conditions, human security and the ability of governments to meet the basic needs of their populations," according to a press release about the report.

It continued: "Communities and states that already are fragile and have limited resources are significantly more vulnerable to disruption and far less likely to respond effectively and be resilient to new challenge."

"The Department of Defense's primary responsibility is to protect national security interests around the world," Pentagon officials said. "This involves considering all aspects of the global security environment and planning appropriately for potential contingencies and the possibility of unexpected developments both in the near and the longer terms."

"It is in this context," they continued, "that the department must consider the effects of climate change -- such as sea level rise, shifting climate zones and more frequent and intense severe weather events -- and how these effects could impact national security."

And in September 2016, a coalition of 25 military and national security experts, including advisers under former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, released a statement to warn of the "significant risk to US national security and international security" that climate change brings and urged U.S. officials in the federal government to do more to implement safeguards and prevent further damage to the environment.

"The conclusions are clear: climate risks are accelerating in their likelihood and severity," said retired rear admiral David Titley of the U.S. Navy, according to the Guardian.

Sources: KNPR, Guardian, U.S. Department of Defense / Photo Credit: Atmospheric Research, CSIRO via Wikimedia Commons

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