What is America’s chief of defense most concerned about? While ISIS is high on the list, climate change is also at the forefront of Chuck Hagel’s agenda. The U.S. Secretary of Defense said earlier this week that climate change is one of the biggest long-term threats to American security that currently exists. “From my perspective, within the portfolio that I have responsibility for – security of this country – climate change presents security issues for us,” Hagel is quoted by the Huffington Post as saying at the Washington Ideas Forum. “This is critically important that we pay attention to this.”

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Hagel said melting glaciers will likely open up a new waterway through “heart of the Arctic,” leading to new exploration for resources such as oil and gas accompanied by increased attention by foreign countries. “There’s a security dynamic to that,” he said. “As the oceans increase, it will affect our bases. It will affect islands. It will affect security across the world. Just from my narrow perspective, what I have a responsibility for, that’s happening now.”

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He added that having their military leaders talk about climate change like this has the potential to make Americans take the problem more seriously because the military is seen by many as having a “more serious look at the world. “I remember when I was in the Senate … [former Virginia Sen.] John Warner and I introduced legislation years ago … for a study on climate change, on how it would affect our national security,” Hagel noted in reference to a 2007 legislation that he supported. “So I wasn’t the only one thinking about it. It was bipartisan. There were a lot of people thinking about it.”

Via Huffington Post

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