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Climate change threatens half of U.S. military sites - Pentagon

by Sebastien Malo | @SebastienMalo | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 18:42 GMT

Army National Guard vehicles are parked at the Arizona National Guard Papago Park Military Reservation in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. December 17, 2017. REUTERS/Caitlin O'Hara

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Drought, wind and flooding topped the list of natural disasters that endanger 1,700 military sites worldwide, from large bases to outposts

By Sebastien Malo

NEW YORK, Jan 31 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nearly half of U.S. military sites are threatened by wild weather linked to climate change, according to a Pentagon study whose findings run contrary to White House views on global warming.

Drought, wind and flooding that occurs due to reasons other than storms topped the list of natural disasters that endanger 1,700 military sites worldwide, from large bases to outposts, said the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

"Changes in climate can potentially shape the environment in which we operate and the missions we are required to do," said the DoD in a report accompanying the survey.

"If extreme weather makes our critical facilities unusable or necessitate costly or manpower-intensive workarounds, that is an unacceptable impact."

The findings put the military at odds with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly cast doubt on mainstream scientific findings about climate change, including this week during an interview on British television.

Trump has also pulled the United States out of the global 2015 Paris accord to fight climate change.

The Pentagon survey investigated the effects of "a changing climate" on all U.S. military installations worldwide, which it said numbered more than 3,500.

Assets most often damaged include airfields, energy infrastructure and water systems, according to military personnel at each site, who responded to the DoD questionnaire.

John Conger, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Climate and Security in Washington, said the report's commissioning by Congress showed a growing interest by lawmakers into the risks that climate change poses to national security.

The study was published late last week and brought to public attention this week by the Center for Climate and Security.

(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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