The Big Melt: Curbing Arctic Climate Change Aligns with U.S. Economic and National Security Goals

8 May 2017 | Cathleen Kelly and Howard Marano

 

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The new normal of unparalleled climate change at the top of the world is on track to set off an accelerating chain reaction of warming with serious implications for U.S. national security both in the region and around the globe. The rising global sea level, as well as more intense and frequent extreme weather, not only threaten U.S. coastal populations but also military assets and strain military resources needed for disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said that “the effects of a changing climate — such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others — impact our security situation.” Mattis has also said that climate change “is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today” and that the military should “incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.” For these reasons, strengthening international cooperation to better understand, monitor, and prepare for Arctic climate change—and to curb rapid Arctic warming and its ramifications for the world—is in the interest of U.S. national security.

 

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