Washington (BBN)-The rising sea levels are putting people and food supplies in vulnerable condition in Bangladesh, said a US-funded military research organisation.
The coastal regions such as eastern India, Bangladesh and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam at risk and could lead to a new wave of refugees, said the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board of US.
The accelerating rate of climate change poses a severe risk to national security and acts as a catalyst for global political conflict, according to the report by the leading United States government-funded military research organisation, reports Todayonline.com.
In addition, the report predicted that an increase in catastrophic weather events around the world will create more demand for US troops, while flooding and extreme weather events at home could damage naval ports and military bases.
In an interview, US Secretary of State John Kerry signalled that the report’s findings would influence American foreign policy.
“Tribes are killing each other over water today,” Kerry said.
“Think of what happens if you have massive dislocation or the drying up of the waters of the Nile, of the major rivers in China and India. The intelligence community takes it seriously and it’s translated into action.”
Kerry, who plans to deliver a major speech later this year on the links between climate change and national security, said his remarks would also be aimed at building political support for US President Barack Obama’s climate change agenda, including a new regulation to cut pollution from coal-fired power plants that the administration will introduce next month.
“We’re going to try to lay out to people legitimate options for action that are not bank-breaking or negative,” Kerry said.
Pentagon officials said the report would affect military policy.
“The department certainly agrees that climate change is having an impact on national security, whether by increasing global instability, by opening the Arctic or by increasing sea levels and storm surges near our coastal installations,” John Conger, the Pentagon’s Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Defence for Installations and Environment, said in a statement.
“We are actively integrating climate considerations across the full spectrum of our activities to ensure a ready and resilient force.”
The report published on Tuesday follows a recent string of scientific studies that warn that flooding, droughts, extreme storms, food and water shortages and damage to infrastructure will occur in the near future.
Tuesday’s report is an update of a report by the centre’s Military Advisory Board in 2007, the first major study to draw the link between climate change and national security.
The report’s authors said the biggest change in the seven years between the two studies was the increase in scientific certainty about global warming, and of the link between global warming and security disruptions.
The 2007 report described climate change as a threat multiplier or a problem that could enhance or contribute to already existing causes of global disruption.
This year’s report updates that language, calling climate change a catalyst for conflict — a phrase intentionally chosen, the report’s authors said, to signal that climate change is an active, driving force in starting conflict.
“In the past, the thinking was that climate change multiplied the significance of a situation,” said General Charles Wald, who contributed to both reports and is retired from the US Air Force.
“Now we’re saying it’s going to be a direct cause of instability.”