Military experts predict millions more people will be displaced from their homes as a result of climate change, exacerbating the ongoing refugee crisis. Senior military leaders told the Guardian it is essential to take action now as an increasing number of people face climate change-fueled events such as drought and sea level rise.

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Climate change can already be connected to the Arab Spring and the migration of Syrian refugees, according to military leaders. Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, who is on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board for the United States Department of State, said the effects of climate change are accelerating instability in places of the world like Africa and the Middle East.

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Cheney told The Guardian, “Climate change could lead to a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. We’re already seeing migration of large numbers of people around the world because of food scarcity, water insecurity, and extreme weather, and this is set to become the new normal. Countries are going to pay for climate change one way or another. The best way to pay for it is by tackling the root causes of climate change and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. If we do not, the national security impacts will be increasingly costly and challenging.”

Major General Munir Muniruzzaman, former adviser to Bangladesh’s president on military issues, said the impacts of climate change could displace more than 30 million people. Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, envoy for the United Kingdom on climate and energy security, said climate change is as much of a threat as terrorism or conflicts between states, but can also interact with such dangers. He described climate change as challenging and complex and said, “This is not a concern for tomorrow; the impacts are playing out today.”

Via The Guardian

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