WASHINGTON — Climate change activism in popular culture may be associated with woke millennials and graying hippies, but some of the most dire warnings about global warming are coming today from national security professionals.
As the Trump administration has downplayed climate change as a national priority, it has increasingly fallen to members of the military and intelligence establishment to argue to keep focus and resources on climate change. On the whole, they treat global warming not as an environmental phenomenon or a moral imperative, but, rather as a force capable of altering the nation’s security outlook.
The calculus is, as it happens, more like simple math. “They see climate change as an impediment on their ability to fight future wars,” explains Michael Klare, author of the new book “All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change.” Klare says that bases in the North and South Pacific prone to flooding, and missile interceptors in Alaska are in danger from melting permafrost, and the U.S. could be hampered in potential conflict with Russia and China. “Their capacity to wage war is being degraded by climate change.”
That much is clear in a series of dire scenarios outlined in a new report by the Center for Climate and Security, a nonpartisan Washington think tank that considers global warming from a national security perspective. It depicts a volatile world where water-hoarding warlords and border-closing nationalists upend long-established security arrangements, plunging the world into chaos. In other words, the stuff of a Hollywood “cli-fi” thriller, only playing out in real time, in real life.
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