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Global Warming Debate Becomes A Military Issue

By | May 14, 2007

      A new report on how global warming may precipitate crises forcing military action is eliciting extensive reactions among members of Congress, and discussions later this week at think tanks.

      For example, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the former Democratic presidential candidate, asserted that global warming could cause large-scale migrations, increased border tensions, the spread of disease and conflicts over food and water, all of which might lead to U.S. military involvement.

      “Climate change is likely to result in extreme weather events, drought, flooding and sea level rise,” he said.

      “It is now more imperative than ever to reduce our oil consumption and target global climate change as a major security threat,” Kerry said at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week on how climate change can lead to military action.

      Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote legislation moving to the House floor that mandates a national intelligence estimate (NIE) on the military security impact of global warming.

      In a letter to all the other House members, Bartlett and Markey noted that former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Gordon Sullivan endorsed their bill.

      The requirement for an NIE on global warming and national security is carried in the Intelligence Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2008, H.R. 2082.

      Sullivan, who has served as chairman of the Military Advisory Board at the Center for Naval Analysis, led a recent study by eleven senior retired three- and four-star generals and admirals, “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change.”

      They found that the potential implications for national security from global warming are serious and wide-ranging.

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