Today, the Obama Administration released its second official National Security Strategy (NSS), and for the first time it will list climate change as one of the top threats facing the US. While the Obama Administration has consistently placed emphasis on climate change as a significant threat to national security, this new NSS delves further into the research.
“Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water,” the document states, according to a former U.S. official who has seen the document. “The present day effects of climate change are being felt from the Arctic to the Midwest. Increased sea levels and storm surges threaten coastal regions, infrastructure, and property. In turn, the global economy suffers, compounding the growing costs of preparing and restoring infrastructure.”
The American Security Project is a leading authority on the links between climate change and national security. This new statement from the White House is correct that climate change is one of the most important long-term threats to our national security. It is not simply an environmental issue, it is an urgent threat to national security. The effects of climate change will act as an “accelerant of instability” and as a “threat multiplier” – creating instability around the world. Climate change also threatens Homeland Security, contributing to natural disasters and extreme weather events. Finally, it will harm and threaten existing infrastructure across the globe.
ASP’s CEO, BGen Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) stressed the importance of this statement:
“Climate change is, and has been, a national security issue for some time. It poses a clear and present danger to both the United States and the world at large. The current administration’s efforts to stress the importance of this issue are well-founded.”
Andrew Holland, ASP’s Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate, further stressed the importance of this issue:
“The National Security Strategy is right to address climate change as a serious issue. Its effects are far-reaching and pose significant threats to the US. Understanding the effects of climate change is a vital first step, and the administration is taking the appropriate steps to combat this issue.”
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View ASP’s previous work on Climate Change and Climate Security below: