How is the U.S. military preparing for rising climate security risks?

(Reuters, 31 Mar 2022) Climate change is boosting security risks from disasters, sea level rise, extreme heat and more - and now is the time to prepare, U.S. security experts say.

From military bases threatened by rising sea levels to concerns too many soldiers could be diverted to fighting wildfires and floods, undermining combat readiness, climate change is creating new and growing security threats for the United States.

Since taking office in 2021, President Joe Biden has signed a range of orders aimed at addressing those risks, including officially making climate change a national security priority.

But progress to turn political will into on-the-ground action to reduce climate risks and adapt to rising threats is still too slow, according to Erin Sikorsky, director of the U.S.-based Center for Climate and Security (CCS).

"We're already behind," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, as the CCS on Thursday released an assessment - backed by 70 former senior U.S. military and security officials - of the Biden administration's efforts to tackle fast-growing climate security risks at home and abroad.

Here are the major challenges for the United States, and why taking action now matters:   

What climate-linked security risks does the United States face?

Threats range from an increase in climate-related disasters at home - such as floods, storms and wildfires - which require soldiers to step in to help, to rising problems abroad as global warming drives more hunger, disasters, migration and conflict.

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Reuters, 31 Mar 2022: How is the U.S. military preparing for rising climate security risks?