Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday issued a call to arms to the military to confront climate change, as rising sea levels and other threats could impair the military’s operations and “sow the seeds of instability… from the spread of infectious diseases to spurring armed conflicts.”
Addressing the Pentagon’s new report on the issue at the Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas in Peru, Hagel said the Defense Department and other military services must start creating plans to deal with the possible effects of climate change on more than 7,000 bases and facilities around the world. Hagel expressed concern that rising sea levels could damage the military’s regional training ranges and critical equipment. “Our militaries’ readiness could be tested, and our capabilities could be stressed,” he said.
“Climate change is a ‘threat multiplier’ because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we already confront today… and to produce new challenges in the future,” Hagel said. “We must be clear-eyed about the security threats presented by climate change, and we must be pro-active in addressing them.”
“The loss of glaciers will strain water supplies in several areas of our hemisphere,” he said. “Destruction and devastation from hurricanes can sow the seeds for instability. Droughts and crop failures can leave millions of people without any lifeline and trigger waves of mass migration.”
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