The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces
Based on these analyses, no region of the world is immune to potential climate change impacts, and each region has the potential to generate climate-related missions for U.S. naval forces or U.S. allies and partners. Related to this, the committee also received briefings associated with issues surrounding water availability and conflict.10 There is growing regional competition for water due to rising populations and rising demands from many sectors around the globe. For example, several African countries are arguing over water rights to the Nile based on claims exerted by Egypt; Israel and Jordan have competing claims to the Jordan River; across the Himalayas, China’s dam on the Yarlung Tsangpo River is causing anxieties about water availability in India’s northeastern sector and in Bangladesh; and India’s own projects to build hydroelectric dams along the Indus River to trap Himalayan waters have caused increased tension with Pakistan.11 While this committee did not focus on water challenges directly, challenges to water systems and water availability exacerbated by climate change could add to global tensions and lead to potentially broader national security implications and implications for naval forces. Climate-change-related water tensions are a special subset of climate change and should remain on the radar for U.S. national security and naval leaders.12
PRELIMINARY STRATEGIES/OPPORTUNITIES TO LEVERAGEU.S. AND ALLIED FORCES AND CAPABILITIES
Given the scope and scale of potential climate change contingencies and vulnerabilities, the United States lacks the resources and capabilities to respond to all plausible scenarios that may directly or indirectly affect the homeland, allies, or general global catastrophic situations. The capabilities and cooperation of partners and allies will not only be important, they will be necessary.
The United States should place a high priority on cooperating with allies, non-allied partners, and private organizations in both anticipating and responding to global climate change and geographic hot spots. The committee agrees that these partnerships at this time are either not sufficiently robust or tailored for the quantity and type of missions that are most likely to occur.
Kathy Jacobs, Deputy Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, “Perspectives from OSTP on Water, Adaptation, and the National Assessment,” presentation to the committee, February 5, 2010; see also Peter H. Gleick, President, The Pacific Institute, “Water, Climate, and International Security: Definitions, History, and Future Risks,” presentation to the committee, November 19, 2009.