DOD Says Climate Change Increases National Security Risks

Image: David B. Gleason via Wikimedia Commons

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor

In a report released last week, the Department of Defense (DOD) confirmed that existing risks and security challenges in the US are being made worse due to “increasing temperatures; changing precipitation patterns; and more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. Now, the Pentagon is preparing for power outages, climate migration, and geopolitical strife.


Why This Matters: The DOD’s report highlights the need for international cooperation to fight climate change and aid vulnerable nations. Experts predict increasing conflict within and between countries over resources like food and water, which is already at risk in the Western US. A staggering 216 million people could be displaced by climate change by 2050, placing further pressure on economies, essential resources, and national borders. 


Power, Energy, and Economic Shifts

The DOD report found global economic and power shifts in motion as well, as countries with greater resources and mobilizing momentum for clean-energy development could experience extreme economic growth in the shift from fossil fuels. Countries that stand to benefit include Norway and the UK, which have great potential for the deployment of carbon capture technology, and China — which controls much of the world’s processing capacity for minerals and metals used in electric vehicle batteries and more.


Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks told NPR that the Pentagon is preparing for all these scenarios:

We’re going to make sure we have resilient supply chains, that we’re being innovative, that we’re tapping into areas like green technology here in the United States, and that we’re collaborating with the private sector, with partners overseas, and other government agencies in our research and development and ways ahead.


Another Report: Mounting Temperatures and Tensions

Another report, last week from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) predicts mounting tensions between world governments over reducing emissions and stopping global temperature rise, underlining the need for next week’s COP26 conference to succeed in strengthening climate alliances and pledges.


A key finding in the ODNI report is that many nations are not on track to meet their Paris Agreement goals. Additionally, coal production and use by countries like China, India, and Australia could threaten the world’s ability to reduce emissions. “Given current government policies and trends in technology development, we judge that collectively countries are unlikely to meet the Paris goals,” it states.


The report also identified several countries that will be especially unable to cope with the impacts of climate change, including Haiti, which has already experienced mass climate displacement.

Up Next

US Green Diplomat Previews Glasgow

US Green Diplomat Previews Glasgow

By WW0 Staff For the United States, the post-Trump, pre-COP26 road to Glasgow has been paved with ambition and humility. In a major speech, the President’s Envoy, John Kerry, previewed the results of his climate diplomacy before heading into two weeks of intense deliberations of world leaders. Speaking at the London School of Economics — […]

Continue Reading 421 words
One Cool Thing: COP26 Coverage Kickoff

One Cool Thing: COP26 Coverage Kickoff

Next week, the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow will draw hundreds of world leaders to Glasgow to determine the path forward five years after the Paris Climate Agreement (for a primer, read this) as new science underscores the urgency. The conference aims to squeeze countries to strengthen the commitments they’ve made towards securing global net-zero […]

Continue Reading 194 words
Australia Finally Releases Pathway to Net Zero By 2050, Leaving Many Wanting More

Australia Finally Releases Pathway to Net Zero By 2050, Leaving Many Wanting More

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor With less than one week left until COP26, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has moved his government to the left on climate change, committing for the first time to a net zero target by 2050, but questions remain about the details and many remain frustrated by Morrison’s refusal to […]

Continue Reading 518 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.