I think we can all agree that our US military is no liberal establishment. You could say they’re conservative in more ways than one. They’re also not dumb. They look at the numbers, probabilities, risks/rewards — and base their tactics and strategies upon them. So it’s not surprising that when given a 97% probability that something is true, they run with it.
Well folks, right now our US military believes climate change is real and that humans are impacting it. And they’re preparing for it. They’re assessing the threats and developing contingency plans.
The military is nonpartisan and neutral, caring only for our country’s national security and vital interests. At their core the military’s not prone to political whims or media biases of the moment. They see the facts on the ground, read the scientific research, and they agree with the 97% of climate scientists who state climate change is real and that humans are a major driver to the changes. They understand it’s a credible and real threat to our national security. We as a nation may be ignoring or denying climate change, but the military isn’t. And let me be clear, political denialism of climate change, especially among Republicans, will make the US less safe and will put us and our economy at risk. Don’t listen to a believer and political progressive like myself. Listen to our military.
In 2007 a blue ribbon panel of 11 of the most respected, retired US generals and admirals said climate change is a serious national security threat. General Gordon Sullivan, US Army (Ret), former Army Chief of Staff: “Climate change is a national security issue. We found that climate instability will lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world.” Gen. Sullivan addressed the deniers and skeptics: “People are saying they want to be perfectly convinced about climate science projections. But speaking as a soldier, we never have 100% certainty. If you wait until you have 100% certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield.”
The Pentagon, in its 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review report, cited climate change as a key issue “that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment.”
Thomas Finger, former chairman of President Bush’s National Intelligence Council: “We judge global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for US national security interests over the next 20 years… We judge that the most significant impact for the United States will be indirect and result from climate-driven effects on many other countries and their potential to seriously affect US national security interests.”
Self-described “conservative Republican” Brig. General Steven Anderson USA (Ret), former Chief of Logistics under Gen. Patraeus: “Our oil addiction, I believe, is our greatest threat to our national security… Because I believe that in CO2 emissions and climate change and the instability that that all drives, I think that that increases the likelihood there will be conflict in which American soldiers are going to have to fight and die somewhere.”
Past (Robert Gates) and present (Leon Panetta) Secretaries of Defense believe climate change is real and will lead to instability. Panetta: “The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security: rising sea levels, to severe drought, to the melting of the polar caps, to more frequent and devastating national disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
The CNA Corporation, which conducts research for the Navy and Marines, wrote that “Climate change, from the Military Advisory Board’s perspective, presents significant risks to America’s national security.” The Military Advisory Board made 2 recommendations:
1) The national security consequences of climate change should be fully integrated into national security and national defense strategies.
2) The US should commit to a stronger national and international role to help stabilize climate changes at levels that will avoid significant disruptions to global security and stability.
Whether you’ve lived in the Bitterroot for 10 or 50 years, you can tell the climate is changing, trending drier and hotter. This is not a cyclical event we’re experiencing. This is global climate change and we humans are driving it. It’s time for us to believe the 97% of climate scientists and take action. Don’t listen to me. Or Democrats. Listen to the military. The military believes it and they’re writing the contingency plans. But the military can’t solve it. Only we can do that. It’ll be one of our greatest challenges, with potentially dire circumstances, but also an opportunity. Most of the world recognizes this and they’re getting ahead of us in developing and selling the technological innovations. Let’s face it, deal with it, and lead the way, all the while benefiting our economy and being good stewards to this land. Do this and we can leave future generations with the same opportunities and natural wonders that we cherish.
Van P. Keele