Excerpts below are from a New York Times article on how the Navy and Coast Guard are grappling with the current and future consequences of Climate Change. While some politicians, particularly our own 1st District Representative, Dan Benishek, continue to call Climate Change “Bad Science”, Coast Guard Commanders, with their Bridge’s-eye view to the phenomenon, know better: “Climate Change is upon us”, says Rear Admiral Gene Brooks, of the 17th Coast Guard District. “Arctic sea ice is leaving earlier and coming later”…
Climate change will pose major new hurdles for U.S. naval forces, forcing the military to grapple with an emerging Arctic frontier, increasing demand for humanitarian aid and creating rising seas that could threaten low-lying bases, the National Academy of Sciences said yesterday.
“Even the most moderate current trends in climate, if continued, will present new national security challenges for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard,” concludes a new academy report. “While the timing, degree and consequence of future climate change impacts remain uncertain, many changes are already underway in regions around the world … and call for action by U.S. naval leadership in response.”
The analysis, conducted at the Navy’s request, echoes similar reports authored by the Defense Department, the intelligence community and the Navy’s own Task Force Climate Change.
Much of its focus is on the far north, where rising temperatures are decreasing the portion of the oil- and gas- rich Arctic Ocean that is covered by sea ice. By 2030, ice-free periods during late summer could be long enough to create new sea lanes through the polar region, the new report says.
Handling the expected crush of shipping and tourist traffic, along with increased oil and gas exploration and military activity by other nations, will require U.S. naval forces to transform their fleets, from officer training to the mix of ships they employ.