Climate change poses a serious threat to militaries, as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, drought and food shortages threaten their operations and leave them tackling greater instability around the world.
That’s the warning from two new reports coming out of the UK and the US this week.
In a new study, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed climate change as one of the key ‘megatrends’ faced to 2045, acting as a threat multiplier for existing global security issues – such as migration and food security – while creating new ones of its own.
No country will escape its impacts and unless a global consensus can be found on climate change, militaries will be left to pick up the pieces, facing a sharp increase in disaster relief and humanitarian work, the MoD warns.
Rear Admiral John Kingwell, Director of the MoD’s Concepts and Doctrine Centre said:
The growth of cities will provide opportunities to make better use of the world’s resources but will expose many of the millions living in coastal cities to the risks of flooding as rising sea levels and more frequent and destructive weather events begin to test resilience. And climate change and the consequences of warming will affect food and water availability for many.
In the US, a report compiled for the Pentagon is warning thousands of military facilities will be threatened by rising sea levels and increasing storm frequency.
The report read:
According to Department of Defense (DOD), its U.S. infrastructure is vulnerable to the potential impacts of climate change. These could affect DOD’s readiness and fiscal exposure.
Climate change is already negatively affecting some military facilities, according to the report, which calls on the Pentagon to better prepare for weather-related climate impacts.
The latest warnings follow a series of similar calls from military officials from both the US and the UK, that climate change is a very real threat for global security and could act as a catalyst for conflict around the world.