National Security and Climate Change

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Contracted employees of the Environmental Restoration, LLC company deploy a spill containment boom around the Offutt Air Force Base fuel storage area as a precautionary measure March 18, 2019 following flooding of the southeast portion of the base. Photo credit: Delanie Stafford/US Air Force

Jet aircraft, carrier task forces and tanks consume vast amounts of fossil fuel--while emitting vast amounts of greenhouse gases. The Pentagon’s carbon footprint is bigger than those of many entire nations. Now, it’s caught in the middle. It’s a massive contributor to climate change, which is threatening its mission worldwide. Seaports and airstrips are being flooded or burned out, and restoring operations costs many millions of dollars.

Meantime, environmental damage is leading to instability and the prospect of international violence. Water shortages have increased tensions in the Middle East and caused new hostilities between India and Pakistan, two nuclear powers. Russia and China are taking advantage of changing conditions. Will politicians who scorn environmentalists and mistrust climate scientists listen to the warnings of military leaders?

Credits

Guests:
John Conger - Director of the Center for Climate and Security and a former environmental official at the Department of Defense - @CntrClimSec, Neta Crawford - Professor of Political Science and Chair of the department of political science at Boston University. She is co-director of the Eisenhower Study Group on the Costs of War and co author of their latest report: Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War.

Host:
Warren Olney

Producer:
Andrea Brody