National Defense Authorization Act

Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment. Pentagon

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For the first time, the Pentagon’s primary planning document addresses the threat of global warming, noting that it will accelerate instability and conflict around the globe. Former Senators John Warner (R-VA) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) added language requiring the department to consider the effects of climate change on its facilities, capabilities, and missions to the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. The Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review (PDF), officially released today, discusses the department’s “strategic approach to climate and energy”:

Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment.

Although they produce distinct types of challenges, climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked.The actions that the Department takes now can prepare us to respond effectively to these challenges in the near term and in the future.

The QDR notes that climate change affects the Department of Defense “in two broad ways”: first, global warming impacts and disasters will “act as an accelerant of instability or conflict,” and second, military installations and forces around the globe will have to adapt to rising seas, increased extreme weather, and other effects of global warming:

Assessments conducted by the intelligence community indicate that climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments. Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration. While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.

Source: Climate Progress

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