Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently spoke of the major challenges facing America’s military resulting from climate change. Among the challenges the armed forces may face is rising sea levels that could put Navy docks and other installations under water in places like Norfolk, Va., Honolulu, and other coastal locations.
The Pentagon has been working for years to reduce the military's carbon footprint by using alternative fuels and more stringent energy-efficiency construction standards. Despite these efforts, the military was responsible for 71% of the federal government's carbon footprint in 2010. A federal greenhouse gas report said that more than 60% of the Pentagon's carbon footprint cannot be reduced easily.
A newly released Defense Department report identifies four things that will affect the U.S. military due to climate change: rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, more extreme weather, and rising sea levels. It calls on the department and the military to identify specific concerns, including possible effects on the more than 7,000 bases and facilities worldwide, and to start putting plans in place to deal with them.