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soldierThe United States Department of Defense released its second Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap yesterday, a report that uses the latest metrics in climate science to prepare for and adapt to the new security challenges posed by climate change. 

“Drawing on these [climate science] assessments,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says in his foreword to the report, “we are integrating climate change considerations into our plans, operations, and training across the Department so that we can manage associated risks.”

The United States Military’s infrastructure is still largely vulnerable to future effects of climate change. According to Mother Jones, the U.S. Navy currently has 20 percent of its fleet stationed in a 29-installation cluster along the Virginia section of the Chesapeake Bay, and this area could face as much as seven feet of sea level rise by 2100. The report assessed more than 7,000 U.S. military installations for climate change vulnerability.

The current report is a follow-up to the first climate roadmap in 2012 and it represents a major move to incorporate climate change adaptation strategies by the Department of Defense (which is one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world). The roadmap outlines climate change as a primary “threat multiplier,” echoing the concerns expressed by U.S foreign policy figures ranging from Secretary of State John Kerry to U.S. Pacific Naval chief Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III. Further, as the report notes, National Guard troops have played a larger role than ever in domestic disaster relief efforts, such as those in the wake of 2012’s Hurricanes Sandy and Issac.

While the first roadmap led to the implementation of several mandates to require a higher standard of climate change hardiness when building new structures, the report’s authors note that it has mostly been “scattered individual efforts” to date. According to New Security Beat, the new roadmap identifies 58 policies, documents, manuals and directives that lack necessary climate change considerations to ensure the success of the Department of Defense’s mission.

While the 20 page report takes a deep look at the implications of climate change on the Department of Defense’s operations past, present and future, it is largely still a report lacking concrete solutions, with a clear lack of data and reporting on adaptation efforts since the first roadmap.

The full report is available online here.

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