America’s national security leaders agree that climate change is a threat to national security, because it will affect global stability and humanitarian crises around the world. However, American policymakers often overlook that the U.S. should lead in climate change adaptation and mitigation because the U.S. homeland is directly threatened by climate change as well.
Climate change will harm America’s infrastructure, agriculture, economy and population; these directly affect America’s homeland and the security of its citizens.
Our country is large and the consequences of warming will vary dramatically across regions and sectors.
Despite the variations in its effects, we must understand its impact on homeland security.
- Climate change will threaten the security of the American Homeland. The effects will be different across the country because of regional climate variations.
- Extreme weather – including storms, droughts, floods, or heat waves – across the U.S. is likely to be the most acute threat to infrastructure and to the livelihoods of American citizens.
- America’s military bases, both at home and abroad, are directly threatened by the extreme weather that will be more likely because of a changing climate.
- Less acute changes in climate –a gradual warming or a slow change in weather patterns – could harm human health and reduce economic activity in traditional jobs.
- The U.S. government has begun the process of preparing for climate change, but a lack of political consensus and long-term foresight is holding back efforts to strategically prepare for the long-term effects of climate change.