Pentagon: “Climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked”

This guest repost is by Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson.

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, 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.

The military is working on not just responding to the impacts of global warming, but also mitigating the threat by reducing global warming emissions. Increased use of renewable energy and energy efficiency not only lessens the military’s enormous carbon footprint, but also delivers immediate security benefits:

Energy efficiency can serve as a force multiplier, because it increases the range and endurance of forces in the field and can reduce the number of combat forces diverted to protect energy supply lines, which are vulnerable to both asymmetric and conventional attacks and disruptions.

The military’s overall agenda is backed up by specific action. In line with President Obama’s executive order to devise a greenhouse pollution reduction plan, the Department of Defense has committed to cutting emissions from its non-combat facilities by 34 percent by 2020. The Air Force, long dependent on billions of gallons of imported oil, is investing deeply in all forms of renewable energy. The Army is making major investments in battery technology, renewable energy, and electric drive vehicles.

As Vice President Gore has noted repeatedly, the “climate crisis, the security crisis and the economic crisis have a common thread” “” our dependence on fossil fuels. If we continue the status quo, threats will continue to multiply on every front “” a fact our military, if not our politicians now in the Senate, now recognizes.

11 Responses to Pentagon: “Climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked”

  1. Minnesotarocks says:

    Media Matters is a biased source.

  2. Prokaryote says:

    Good infos on the battery and electromobile tech aswell!
    What will happen to stuff like this & ?

  3. Doug Bostrom says:

    Minnesotarocks says: February 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    “Media Matters is a biased source.”

    And they secretly control the Pentagon.

  4. mike roddy says:

    Good one, Doug, #3. It’s been painful to see the denier commenters over on Dot Earth try to spin this one, too.

  5. Dano says:

    Mouth-breathing denialist comments notwithstanding, I’ll bring up this story again:

    About a half-decade ago now, I had a co-worker from another country, who ran the disaster preparedness team for their city. This co-worker was over on a fellowship and took a week to go to a Pentagon conference on disaster planning for global warming scenarios, specifically for societal unrest and migration, and war over resources and all that. Anyway, they came back from the conference amazed at all the scenarios and how well-planned they were. The Pentagon and other leading militaries have been planning this for a while now.



  6. fj2 says:

    Broad Pentagon involvement would likely be one of the critical elements achieving scale-appropriate action on climate change with wartime speed.

    It is very important that this starts to dominate a large portion of the media and public awareness.

    Fully exposed as frauds for personal gain and undermining the critical action necessary to meet this crisis by the United States, many deniers will rapidly achieve traitor and profiteering status.

    It would also become much more serious should special interest industries like insurance, finance, oil, and media attempt to subvert the Pentagons mission-critical work.

  7. fj2 says:

    The Central Intelligence Agency should also be brought in to collaborate on Pentagon analytics of the climate change crisis.

  8. fj2 says:

    The President should publicly acknowledge Pentagon and CIA unclassified analytics of the Climate Change Crisis.

  9. Chris Dudley says:

    Sir David King thinks that the stealing of climate emails involved a foreign intelligence agency so there may be an even broader militarization of climate change going on.

  10. James Newberry says:

    The US military is one of the single biggest causes of climate change on Earth. Military agendas (such as atomic fission, jet aviation and interstate highway system and internal combustion) have pervaded our “economy” since World War Two. The Secretary of War was the CEO of GM (GM now stands for global meltdown). In the military industrial quest, GM destroyed the nation’s urban rail system.

    It is nice to know the Pentagon is “concerned,” after creating what is becoming a planetary disaster. This seems to indicate we will have green architecture, green power and green wars (for fossil fools). And where have these “analysts” been while we have been discussing climate “change” during the last quarter century? Just to note: John Tyndall identified the greenhouse effect in 1859, the same year petroleum was “discovered” in Pennsylvania, and the great ecosphere contamination commenced in full.

  11. espiritwater says:

    “There is substantial evidence to suggest that significant global warming will occur during the 21st century….It is quite plausible that within a decade the evidence of an imminent abrupt shift may become clear and reliable.”– Pentagon’s report

    Source: Reinsurance magazine (2005, p.2).

    Yep, Pentagon’s known for quite awhile. So has Bush. (2005 + 10 = 2015)