By Francisco Casillas |Staff Writer|
As an effort to bring attention to climate change, the Pentagon released a report Monday Oct.13, declaring climate change as an “immediate risk.”
The Department of Defense (DOD) plans to adapt to rising sea levels, fierce storms, and severe droughts by increasing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, building infrastructure against possible hits from the coastal waters, and providing assistance to other nations who are affected by climate crises.
“Our coastal installations are vulnerable to rising sea levels and increased flooding, while droughts, wildfires, and more extreme temperatures could threaten many of our training activities,” said Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagal.
“In places like the Hampton Road in Virginia, which houses the largest concentration of US military sites in the world, we see current flooding today,” added Hagal.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported their carbon dioxide measurements for in September reads 398 parts per million, which has already increased average world temperatures by .61 degrees celsius — enough to notice rises in sea levels, powerful storms, and severe droughts.
The report, which the DOD released during a visit to Peru for the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, highlights a plan of action for global weather changes.
The report also points out that they plan to conduct a survey to assess the vulnerability of its more than 7,000 military bases, installations and other facilities.
The report does not go into specifics as to what the costs may be when such operations begin.
“You definitely need a cost because you need to balance what you want to do with the benefits,” said Alan Smith, CSUSB professor of Geological Sciences.
“But long term plans need to be established, which will results in unpleasant short term effects,” continued Smith.
The DOD stated in the report that climate change is a “threat multiplier,” arguing that it can potentially greatly affect military conflicts that are presently happening in the Middle East.
“Weather has always affected military operations, and as the climate changes, the way we execute operations may be constrained or altered,” continued Hagal.
Analysts suggest that issues regarding climate change in political debates are cause for Hagal’s push towards a new global climate change treaty.
“It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the president and his administration would focus on climate change when there are other, legitimate threats in the world,” said Senator James M. Inhofe quoted by the New York Times.
Students voiced their opinions, pointing out that the Pentagon needs to gear their resources and focus towards climate change.
“Pollution is important and a lot of regular people are not informed or are not willing to accept the facts,” said Biology major Ebila Perez.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to find a solution because everyone is contributing to problem,” continued Perez.
Diana Castillo, a Nursing student, said that the government is at least making an effort by informing citizens about the pollution and the environment.
“All countries need to come together to get us out of this situation,” said Smith.
“Ultimately, the main thing is to decrease greenhouse gases by whatever means possible,” continued Smith.
The new global agreement is expected to be signed at the end of 2015 in Paris.