Tuesday, July 1, 2014

US government report cites climate change as a threat to military base readiness

Liz Klimas in the Blaze: The government has already considered the threat that climate change could pose to the military’s operations, but its latest report reveals “actual impacts” that could be indicative of what installations could face as a result of global warming.

Officials from the Government Accountability Office visited Department of Defense sites and noted examples where the effects of climate change could impact its “readiness” and leave the military vulnerable.

 “For example, according to DOD officials, the combination of thawing permafrost, decreasing sea ice, and rising sea levels on the Alaskan coast has increased coastal erosion at several Air Force radar early warning and communication installations,” the GAO noted. “Impacts on DOD’s infrastructure from this erosion have included damaged roads, seawalls and runways. In addition, officials on a Navy installation told GAO that sea level rise and resulting storm surge are the two largest threats to their waterfront infrastructure. For instance, they are concerned about possible storm surge during work on a submarine that will be cut in half while sitting in a dry dock. Officials explained that if salt water floods the submarine’s systems, it could result in severe damage.”

The GAO acknowledged in its video that any single weather event cannot necessarily be linked to climate change, but it said that these events can give “insight into the potential climate-related vulnerabilities.”

The report —Climate Change Adaptation: DOD Can Improve Infrastructure Planning and Processes to Better Account for Potential Impacts  — said that the DOD has already begun to assess the vulnerability of installations against the potential impact of climate change and what could be one to adapt to these effects. But the GAO wrote the defense department could face limitations in that some of its plans are not fully developed and such projects are rarely proposed as military construction projects....

George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove

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