New Pentagon Report sees Climate Change as US National Security Threat

So, if you’re not convinced by the ethical perspectives on climate change, then maybe you’ll be convinced to take it seriously if you are told that it could make state less secure going forward. In a new report from the US Department of Defence (i.e., “The Pentagon”), climate change is seen as a “threat multiplier.” In the language of Homer-Dixon, this means that climate change is viewed not as an exogenous cause of conflict, but as a factor that could negatively influence hypothesized exogenous causes of both civil and inter-state conflict. This is how Bloomberg News responded to the release of the report:

Global warming will worsen many of the challenges the U.S. military already is grappling with, the department said in areport yesterday.

“We refer to climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’ because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today -– from infectious disease to terrorism,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a blog post. “While scientists are converging toward consensus on future climate projections, uncertainty remains. But this cannot be an excuse for delaying action.”

Here is the report in its entirely. I am also providing a video excerpt of an MSNBC story on the release of the report, which has the added virtue of including an interview with the author of one of the readings that I think at least 2 of you read for Wednesday’s seminar! The author is Chris Parenti, who has written an interesting book called Climate of Chaos.

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One thought on “New Pentagon Report sees Climate Change as US National Security Threat

  1. I feel that this is a good example of how climate change can be justified as a human rights issue. Not only does climate change have the potential to increase the risk of infectiousness diseases and terrorism, but it can also give rise to climate refugees. Moreover, the unpredictable weather patterns facilitated by climate change can dramatically impact the daily routines and rituals of millions of individuals. In his book, What’s Wrong With Climate Change Politics and How to Fix It, Harris argues that climate change should be regarded as a human rights issue. By placing emphasis on how individuals are affected by the diverse effects of climate change, the failure to humanize climate change can be overcome. I hope that when individuals read this story, they realize that climate change is real, and can have dramatic impacts on individuals in both, the developing and developed world. I truly hope with such realization, that individuals become more proactive in fighting this global issue. For the wide spectrum of negative impacts caused by climate change will occur, no matter if modern day society is ready for them or not.

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