Climate Change and National Security

Climate Change and National Security | Delta Scientific

The negative effects of climate change are real and observable in the world. While it may be difficult for a layperson to perceive a link between climate change and national security, the United States Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, as well as 18 different intelligence agencies, recognize climate change as a current, concrete security threat. Because security is Delta Scientific’s primary concern, we attempt to explain the connection between these two seemingly disparate phenomena.

Exhausted Resources

Climate change can have a negative impact on the availability of natural resources. For example, it can lead to higher temperatures and droughts, meaning lowered levels of fresh water in lakes and reservoirs. Less fresh water can lead to the death of trees, which contributes to climate change because trees convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to oxygen. Carbon dioxide traps heat next to the earth and contributes to global warming and climate change.

However, climate change also has a negative impact on military resources. The Armed Forces are increasingly called on to provide humanitarian aid during natural disasters due to climate change — such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires — and are stretched thin as a result.

Food Insecurity

Shortages of water and increases in average temperatures can lead to loss of food crops and livestock, especially in countries that are close to the equator where temperatures tend to be higher and remain so for most of the year. The result is shortages of food and water for the people in these regions. Food insecurity has led to climate-induced migration from some of these areas to others where resources are more plentiful. For example, people from Africa have migrated to Europe and people from Central and South America have migrated to the United States and Canada. Food insecurity is not the only possible reason behind this migration, but it is one of the most common.

Political Instability

Some of the places hardest hit by climate change are already under stress from factors such as social tensions and poverty. The political situation in some of these areas is already unstable, and while climate change does not cause conflict directly, it can accelerate the instability that is already there. Political instability driven by climate change can lead to fighting and turf wars for resources among rival groups or coups to overturn a government viewed as ineffectual or self-serving.

The conflicts are not always confined within the boundaries of a single country. Sometimes the government of one country sees another as using more than its fair share of the resources that used to be equally available to both countries or as acting without regard for the effects of climate change on other countries. This type of conflict may result in the two countries going to war. A lack of resources can cause different factions to become radicalized and launch terrorist attacks against either their own government or important facilities in another country, such as government or military installations, industrial complexes, or civilian areas.

Terrorist attacks often involve vehicles. Sometimes the vehicles are filled with explosives and turned into bombs, while other times they are driven at high speeds into buildings or pedestrian areas. Delta Scientific products, such as bollards and barricades, are crash-tested and rated according to standards set by the Department of Defense and ASTM International, as effective at stopping vehicles traveling at high speeds, preventing them from reaching their targets.