Wednesday, November 14, 2012

National Security Officials on the Threat of Climate Change

Here are 15 current and former national security officials in their own words reviewing the threats posed by climate change:
  • Thomas Fingar, former chairman of President Bush’s National Intelligence Council: “We judge global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the next 20 years … We judge that the most significant impact for the United States will be indirect and result from climate-driven effects on many other countries and their potential to seriously affect U.S. national security interests.”
  • Brig. General Steven Anderson, USA (Ret.), former Chief of Logistics under General Petraeus and a self-described “conservative Republican”: “Our oil addiction, I believe, is our greatest threat to our national security. Not just foreign oil but oil in general. Because I believe that in CO2 emissions and climate change and the instability that that all drives, I think that that increases the likelihood there will be conflicts in which American soldiers are going to have to fight and die somewhere.”
  • Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense: “[T]he area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security: rising sea levels, to severe droughts, to the melting of the polar caps, to more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
  • Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense: “Over the next 20 years and more, certain pressures-population, energy, climate, economic, environmental-could combine with rapid cultural, social, and technological change to produce new sources of deprivation, rage, and instability.”
  • General Gordon Sullivan, USA (Ret.), former Army chief of staff: “Climate change is a national security issue. We found that climate instability will lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world.”
  • Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, USN (Ret.): “If the destabilizing effects of climate change go unchecked, we can expect more frequent, widespread, and intense failed state scenarios creating large scale humanitarian disasters and higher potential for conflict and terrorism … The Department of Defense and national intelligence communities recognize this clear link between climate change, national security, and instability and have begun strategic plans and programs to both mitigate and adapt to the most likely and serious effects in key areas around the globe.”
  • General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), former Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Central Command and special envoy to Israel and Palestine under President George W. Bush: “It’s not hard to make the connection between climate change and instability, or climate change and terrorism.”
  • Admiral Joseph Lopez, USN (Ret.): “Climate change will provide the conditions that will extend the war on terror.”
  • General Chuck Wald, USAF (Ret.), former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command under President George W. Bush: “People can say what they want to about whether they think climate change is manmade or not, but there’s a problem there and the military is going to be a part of the solution. It’s a national security issue because it affects the stability of certain places in the world.”
  • Brig. General Bob Barnes, USA (Ret.): “While most people associate global warming with droughts, rising sea levels, declining food production, species extinction and habitat destruction, fewer connect these impacts to increasing instability around the globe and the resulting threats to our national security. But the connection—and the threat it poses—is real and growing.”
  • Vice Admiral Richard Truly, USN (Ret.), former NASA administrator: “The stresses that climate change will put on our national security will be different than any we’ve dealt with in the past.”
  • General Paul Kern, USA (Ret.), Commander of the United States Army Materiel Command under President George W. Bush: “Military planning should view climate change as a threat to the balance of energy access, water supplies, and a healthy environment, and it should require a response.’
  • Lt. General Lawrence Farrell, USAF (Ret.): “The planning we do that goes into organizing, training, and equipping our military considers all the risks that we may face. And one of the risks we see right now is climate change.”
  • Admiral John Nathman, USN (Ret.), former Commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command under President George W. Bush: “There are serious risks to doing nothing about climate change. We can pay now or we’re going to pay a whole lot later. The U.S. has a unique opportunity to become energy independent, protect our national security and boost our economy while reducing our carbon footprint. We’ve been a model of success for the rest of the world in the past and now we must lead the way on climate change.”
  • Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.): “The national security community is rightly worried about climate change because of the magnitude of its expected impacts around the globe, even in our own country … Climate change poses a clear and present danger to the United States of America. But if we respond appropriately, I believe we will enhance our security, not simply by averting the worst climate change impacts, but by spurring a new energy revolution.”
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