Breaking out another vintage Bob Lang TOON to discuss a topic which is bound to bring up some arguments.
The C2 word — yup, Climate Change.
A new study funded by the U.S. military finds that more than a thousand low-lying islands and atolls across the world will be rendered uninhabitable by mid-century due to rising seas, threatening hundreds of thousands of people as well as key military assets.
The U.S. military has long funded research into the impacts of climate change, primarily as it relates to strategic interests at home and abroad. For instance, earlier this year the Pentagon released a report finding that climate change threatened over half of all military bases.
The more recent study examines the effect of sea level rise on island water supplies, and the researchers found that sources of drinking water on many of these islands — such as groundwater or reservoirs –could become contaminated with seawater if the oceans rise by as little as 15 inches. Wave-driven overwash could devastate infrastructure and contaminate the “freshwater availability” on these islands with saltwater.
The issue of a changing climate also impacts U.S. military installations on islands in the Pacific according to the report — some of which are designed to help protect the U.S. from missile attacks. For instance, the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site sits on several atolls in the Marshall Islands and it might need to be shut down or relocated in the next few decades as sea levels rise.
The site is designed to help the U.S. prepare for long-range missile attacks from other countries, including North Korea. The Washington Post noted that, with Kwajalein Atoll, the U.S. “can practice launching or deflecting nuclear attacks, provide a territorial bulwark against China, [and] immediately detect any launch out of Asia.”
A September 2016 report from the Center for Climate and Security described the site as a “key [Department of Defense] asset for testing missiles and missile interceptors and conducting work for U.S. Strategic Command, NASA, and others.”
So, what say you SOFREP? Is this money well spent by the U.S. military and what should we be doing about it? Sound off in the comments.