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A Global Warming “Oops” Moment or a National Security Risk?

While the Register’s Orange Punch bloggers are always pretty quick to highlight any information that declares Global Warming to be a hoax or something based on flawed science, it’s always good to get information from other resources.  In this case, the Department of Defense courtesy of a page one story in yesterday’s New York Times.

Global warming and climate change pose a serious national security risk to the United States according to the Defense Dept.

From the story:

The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say.

Such climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change.

But a growing number of policy makers say that the world’s rising temperatures, surging seas and melting glaciers are a direct threat to the national interest.

If the United States does not lead the world in reducing fossil-fuel consumption and thus emissions of global warming gases, proponents of this view say, a series of global environmental, social, political and possibly military crises loom that the nation will urgently have to address.

The Pentagon and the State Department have studied issues arising from dependence on foreign sources of energy for years but are only now considering the effects of global warming in their long-term planning documents. The Pentagon will include a climate section in the Quadrennial Defense Review, due in February; the State Department will address the issue in its new Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.

“The sense that climate change poses security and geopolitical challenges is central to the thinking of the State Department and the climate office,” said Peter Ogden, chief of staff to Todd Stern, the State Department’s top climate negotiator.

Although military and intelligence planners have been aware of the challenge posed by climate changes for some years, the Obama administration has made it a central policy focus.

A changing climate presents a range of challenges for the military. Many of its critical installations are vulnerable to rising seas and storm surges. In Florida, Homestead Air Force Base was essentially destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and Hurricane Ivan badly damaged Naval Air Station Pensacola in 2004. Military planners are studying ways to protect the major naval stations in Norfolk, Va., and San Diego from climate-induced rising seas and severe storms.