Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pentagon review to address climate change for the first time

Roxana Tiron in the Hill: The Pentagon is addressing climate change for the first time in its sweeping review of military strategy. The Pentagon is set to release the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) on Monday, along with the 2011 budget request. In the review, Pentagon officials conclude that climate change will act as an “accelerant of instability and conflict,” ultimately placing a burden on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), a key architect of Senate climate plans, was the first to draw attention to the significance of climate change in the QDR. Kerry said last week that the QDR will list climate change as a security problem that could claim U.S. lives.

“I will tell you that the defense review of the United States Pentagon next week is going to come out and list climate change for the first time as an instability factor that affects our troops and may in fact wind up costing us lives down the road,” Kerry said at a forum hosted by labor, business, veteran and other groups backing climate legislation.

…The Defense Department also acknowledges in the draft QDR that climate change will affect the military’s operating environment, roles and missions. Climate-related changes include heavy downpours; rising temperature and sea level; rapidly retreating glaciers; thawing permafrost; and lengthening ice-free seasons in oceans, lakes or rivers.

Assessments conducted by the intelligence community indicate that climate change will have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation and weakening of fragile governments, according to the draft QDR document….

The Arctic Thunder Air Show 2004 poster, featured nationally in Flyers Magazine, designed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, on Feb. 18, 2005. (U.S. Air Force Graphic Illustration by Senior Airman Miguel Lara III)

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