Climate change does not only threaten the environment but also U.S. national security, according to a new study.
Global warming presents the U.S. with several security threats and has led to conflicts over food and water because of droughts and extreme weather, says the report, which was written by a dozen retired American generals and published by the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board on Tuesday.
“Climate change can act as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world, and it presents significant national security challenges for the United States,” says the report, adding that problems will be felt “even in stable regions.”
The U.S. military should plan to help manage catastrophes and conflicts both domestically and internationally, it says, raising concerns regarding a wave of refugees fleeing rising sea levels.
“These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad, such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability and social tensions — conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence,” the report states.
The authors of National Security and the Threat of Climate Change urge U.S. policymakers to act quickly. “The increasing risks from climate change should be addressed now because they will almost certainly get worse if we delay,” they say.