Despite renewed threats from nuclear North Korea, missile stockpiling in China and a standoff between China and Japan over a small string of islands, the head of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet has declared the greatest threat to long-term peace in the region is climate change.
Fallout from the shifting global temperature "is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen ... that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about," Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III told the Boston Globe's Bryan Bender on Friday.
This not from some liberal tree hugger, but from the man who ran the maritime part of NATO’s war against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and has since been tasked with responding to the frequent destructive weather events in East Asia and the Pacific Ocean.
"You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level," Locklear said. "Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon 27 or 28 this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about 17."
Locklear's comments come after the Department of Defense released a Quadrennial Defense Review in which it described the shifting global climate as a national security threat and "accelerant of instability and conflict," placing the burden of response on militaries around the world.
The U.S. military has also adopted a variety of clean energy projects in an effort to green its image and reduce the armed services’ carbon footprint.