Climate change is an accelerating threat to national security. That’s the finding of a recent report by the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board, a panel I serve on along with some of our country’s most senior retired military leaders.
Each of us is a hard-nosed leader with decades of experience evaluating national security risks. We have been keeping an eye on climate change for years, first reporting on it as a potential national security threat in 2007.
Since then, we have seen the scientific consensus continue to develop and solidify, while signatures of a warming world — from global temperature trends to severe weather events — strongly suggest that our climate is already changing. And we are increasingly worried about the lack of comprehensive action by the United States and the global community.
The changing climate is already serving as a catalyst for conflict. Consider, for example, the severe drought in the years leading up to the civil war in Syria. The drought didn’t cause the war, but it certainly served as a destabilizing factor.