Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Climate Impacts Nearly Half of U.S. Military Bases

Climate
Climate Impacts Nearly Half of U.S. Military Bases
Floods caused power outages at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy in 2005. Michael Lavender / U.S. Navy / Flickr

By Alex Kirby

Once more, the administration of President Trump seems puzzled about how seriously—if at all—it should regard how climate effects strike U.S. military abilities.

In December the president listed the global threats he reckoned the U.S. was facing—and climate change didn't get a mention. Now, though, the U.S. Department of Defense says many of its bases are feeling the worrying impacts of climate change.


Around half of U.S. military bases worldwide are already experiencing those impacts, a Pentagon report says. A survey shows risks to military infrastructure related to climate and extreme weather are widespread, affecting nearly 50 percent of the 1,684 sites involved.

The survey, described as a vulnerability assessment, identifies several key categories of risk: flooding, both from storm surges and causes such as rain, snow, ice and river overflows; extreme heat and cold; wind; drought; and wildfire. The Pentagon says the risks are not confined to vulnerable coastal sites.

Worrying Picture

The survey paints what the Center for Climate & Security (CCS), a U.S. non-partisan policy institute composed of security and military experts, calls "a concerning picture of current climate change-related risks to military installations both at home and abroad."

John Conger, a senior policy adviser at the CCS, is a former U.S. deputy under-secretary of defense. He told the Climate News Network:

"This report represents the first survey of climate impacts across the Department of Defense's installation enterprise, and while it does not detail specific impacts, the breadth of impacts it reports is significant.

"No region is immune from climate impacts. This work will form the foundation of vulnerability assessments and mitigation planning in the future."

As rapid climate change is projected to intensify most of these risks during this century, the CCS said, it is reasonable to expect that military sites will become more vulnerable unless significant resources are devoted to adaptation, or the rate and scale of climate change are reduced.

"What is potentially significant about this survey … is how widespread climate change-related risks to military assets already are," it said.

The vulnerability statement insists that the Pentagon will do what it thinks necessary to protect its bases: "Our warfighters require bases from which to deploy, on which to train, or to live when they are not deployed.

"If extreme weather makes our critical facilities unusable or necessitates costly or manpower-intensive work-arounds, that is an unacceptable impact."

Present Danger

The CCS said the survey makes it clear that climate change is already affecting the U.S. military's ability to do its job, finding that many installations are "highly vulnerable to a variety of different types of extreme or severe weather events. Scientists expect heat waves, flooding, drought and wildfires to all increase over the coming decades."

On the president's December failure to include climate change in his list of global security threats to the U.S., Mr Conger said, "While it is unfortunate that mention of climate was dropped from the strategy, it isn't surprising.

"I expect the U.S. military will continue to focus on mission assurance efforts and it clearly recognizes climate change is one of the risks it must consider. The omission won't block the DoD from working on climate resilience, but its reduction in priority is likely to slow progress."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Climate News Network.

In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A field of sunflowers near the Mehrum coal-fired power station, wind turbines and high-voltage lines in the Peine district of Germany on Aug. 3, 2020. Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.

Read More Show Less
Monarch butterflies in Mexico's Oyamel forest in Michoacan, Mexico after migrating from Canada. Luis Acosta / AFP / Getty Images

By D. André Green II

One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.

Read More Show Less
The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony on Sept. 17 introduced ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners, each intended to make people "laugh then think." Improbable Research / YouTube

The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch