At the beginning of the year, climate change was declared a threat to national security by fifteen leaders of the US Armed Forces. Now, their warnings have been heeded by the US National Intelligence Council who have stated that climate change has the potential to “stoke regional instabilities and fuel international tensions”.
The Global Trends 2030 report, which was released yesterday by the military agency, looked at how national security would be shaped and affected over the next two decades. What it revealed was that climate change would harm supplies of food, water, and natural resource supplies, which in turn could lead to global conflicts.
The report stated that “demand for food, water, and energy will grow by approximately 35, 40 and 50% respectively, owing to an increase in the global population and the consumption patterns of an expanding middle class. Climate change will worsen the outlook for the availability of these critical resources.”
While it may seem bleak and the war for resources which is often predicted in science-fiction and Hollywood may seemed like a certainty, the report does say that this can be avoided if countries work together with the private sector.
“We are not necessarily headed into a world of scarcities, but policymakers and their private sector partners will need to be proactive to avoid such a future. Many countries probably won’t have the wherewithal to avoid food and water shortages without massive help from outside.”
Luckily for the US, if there is one organization that has actually been embracing alternative energy, it is the US military. As the US military has always been at the cutting-edge of technology — having developed everything from fighter jets that run on biofuel to solar powered backpacks for troops in Afghanistan — it is no surprise to learn that they are one of the biggest supporters of alternative fuels and energy. Despite certain conservative groups attacking clean energy programs, saying that they are part of “President Obama’s war on affordable energy”, the US military believes they make the armed forces more efficient and enhance military effectiveness. The report underlines this research by saying that series of technology breakthroughs will be needed to address climate-related risks.
“Key technologies likely to be at the forefront of maintaining [energy, food and water] resources in the next 15-20 years will include genetically modified crops, precision agriculture, water irrigation techniques, solar energy, advanced bio-based fuels, and enhanced oil and natural gas extraction via fracturing.”
“Given the vulnerabilities of developing economies to key resource supplies and prices and the early impacts of climate change, key developing countries may realise substantial rewards in commercialising many next-generation resource technologies first.”
via The Guardian