Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: Climate Change is a “threat multiplier”

Jennifer M. Klein, Esq.
Associate Director & Fellow

800px-The_Pentagon_January_2008On Monday the Department of Defense (DOD) issued a report describing its plan to adapt to the impacts of Climate Change. The DOD views climate change as an immediate threat based on its potential to undermine the capacity of military installations and to “intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict.” Noting that the military deals constantly with global uncertainty, the report asserts that uncertainty in future climate projections “cannot be an excuse for delaying action.”

As the New York Times reports, the DOD report represents a significant shift for the military. The Pentagon has in the past focused on physical adaptations to climate change, such as protecting coastal naval bases from rising sea levels. The new report is notable for emphasizing the need to “incorporate climate change into broader strategic thinking about high-risk regions — for example, the ways in which drought and food shortages might set off political unrest in the Middle East and Africa.” Secretary Hagel gave a speech in Peru on Monday in an apparent effort to build support for upcoming U.N. Climate Change Negotiations to be held in Lima this December.

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