Most people – at least most rational people – agree that 1) climate change is real, and 2) humans are definitely a cause. But many members of the GOP, especially high ranking ones that are now on science-based committees in Washington, deny one of, if not both, of those facts.
The Pentagon, however, is now issuing a warning that if something isn’t done, and quickly, climate change will pose an even bigger threat to national security.
Describing the naval station in Norfolk, Virginia and the rise in sea levels in the Atlantic Ocean, former Vice President Al Gore told Rolling Stone, “It’s the biggest Navy base in the world, and it’s going to have to be located. It’s just a question of when.”
“Military readiness is already being impacted by sea-level rise,” said Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who also pointed out that flooding has made selling houses in certain parts of Norfolk a difficult task.
With the melting of Greenland and West Antarctica, scientists predict that Norfolk could experience a more than seven-foot rise in sea levels by the turn of the century. That rise means that in 25 years, “operations at most bases like [the ones in Norfolk] are likely to be severely compromised” and completely gone within 50.
The Navy’s chief oceanographer and head of its climate-change task force Rear Adm. Jonathan White told Rolling Stone that when he deals with members of congress about climate change, he “just [takes] them down to Norfolk. When you see what’s going on down there, it gives you a sense of what climate change means to the Navy – and to America.”
As RS pointed out, the Pentagon oversees more than 555,000 facilities and 28 million acres of land, all of which will experience the effects of climate change in some way.
“Nearly every naval and Air Force base on the East Coast is vulnerable to sea-level rise and storm surges, including Eglin Air Force Base, the largest Air Force base in the United States, which is on the low-lying Florida Panhandle, and Patrick Air Force Base on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. In the West, the problem is often drought and flash flooding. Fort Irwin, a seven-square-mile Army base in Southern California, on the edge of the Mojave Desert, has troubles with both. California’s epic drought has put the base’s long-term water supply into question. Fort Irwin is one of the only bases in the U.S. with the space and the isolation to allow full-scale mock tank warfare.”
Many members of the GOP who are the strongest anti-climate-change voices in Congress also offer the strongest support for the armed forces. If the fact that climate change will pose a serious threat to our national security efforts doesn’t make them see how serious of a problem it really is, nothing will.