U.S. Military Report: Climate Change is a ‘Catalyst for Conflict'
It's hard to deny climate change when some of the most respected people in the U.S. affirm its existence.
That's what happened this week when Military Advisory Board (MAB) of the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) released its National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change. Board members plan on briefing the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on their findings, particularly that climate change could lead to conflict.
“It is not possible to discuss the future of national and international security without addressing climate change,” retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Donald Hoffman said in a statement. “Food shortages, droughts, floods—all directly tied to climate change will be catalysts for conflict.”
The board is comprised of 16 retired three- and four-star generals and admirals. Their message is not unlike the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s March report, which stated that global security could be comprised as the Earth continues to warm.
The new report, accompanied by a pair of videos, builds on a 2007 report from the MAB. Back then, the group referred to climate change as a "threat multiplier." Now, the situation is more grave, with impacts on the economy, military, infrastructure and society.
"The projected impacts of climate change could be detrimental to military readiness, strain base resilience both at home and abroad, and may limit our ability to respond to future demands," the report reads.
Here are a few recommendations from the report:
- Supported by National Intelligence Estimates, the U.S. military’s Combatant Commanders should factor in the impacts of projected climate change across their full spectrum of planning and operations.
- The U.S. should accelerate and consolidate its efforts to prepare for increased access and military operations in the Arctic.
- The projected impacts of climate change should be fully integrated fully into the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and the Strategic National Risk Assessment.
"We hope this report will both influence public opinion as well as influence national security policymakers and leaders," retired Navy rear admiral and co-author David Titley told The Huffington Post.
"We are speaking out because we believe the risk is accelerating, and will continue to do so unless action is taken now."
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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