United States Army declares climate change an ‘existential threat’

The United States Army has declared climate change an existential threat, saying that it threatens “U.S. National security interests and defense objectives.”

According to a document released by the Army, the effects of climate change can undermine weak governments, cause humanitarian disasters and cause long-term social and economic disruptions. The document said, “Warming temperatures open new theaters of operations for military and commercial use, while extreme weather events and rising sea levels threaten infrastructure and economic output, trigger large-scale population displacement, migration and exacerbate food and water insecurity.”

It continued by explaining the current efforts of the Army against climate change, which included investing in technology to enhance “capabilities for operational energy and modernization priorities, and support mitigating and adapting to climate change,” addressing climate threats and integrating energy efficiency and renewable energy into Army operations, making design and construction changes to address climate risks and including climate risk analyses in daily operations.

At the Leaders Summit on Climate, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said, “Today, no nation can find lasting security without addressing the climate crisis. We face all kinds of threats in our line of work, but few of them truly deserve to be called existential. The climate crisis does.” He added that “climate change is making the world more unsafe and we need to act.” The Secretary of Defense continued, saying, “From coast to coast and across the world, the climate crisis has caused substantial damage and put people in danger, making it more difficult for us to carry out our mission of defending the United States and our allies.”

“We in the Department of Defense are committed to doing our part, from increasing the energy efficiency of our platforms and installations, to deploying clean distributed generation and energy storage, to electrifying our own vehicle fleets,” he said, adding that “we’re not alone,” meaning that many other nations are also addressing the threat of climate change. “None of us can tackle this problem alone. We share this planet, and shared threats demand shared solutions. I look forward to working with all of you on this vital mission,” he concluded.




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