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Official Describes Impacts of Climate Change, Standup of Climate Working Group

Official Describes Impacts of Climate Change, Standup of Climate Working Group

Rising sea levels, more severe storms, increased wildfire intensity and extent, heat, drought and other negative effects; these impacts of climate change will affect people, equipment and property worldwide, and that means they affect the Defense Department, at home and abroad.

Joe Bryan, the DOD senior climate advisor, said that these impacts of climate change affect training and installations and are one of the driving factors for humanitarian crises globally. Climate change also factors into geopolitical and economic issues, he said. With the ice in the Arctic Ocean melting, for example, China and Russia are looking to exploit the area both economically and militarily, and the department must develop a sound plan for how it responds. The National Defense Strategy recognizes that the U.S. is under a variety of threats, including climate change, he said.

In addition to department-wide efforts to make installations more resilient to climate threats, Bryan discussed ways the Pentagon is mitigating damage from climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

One piece of good news is that, over the last decade, a number of commercial technologies have emerged. For example, energy efficiency technology and renewable energy systems have decreased dependence on the electric grid and have helped cut down on greenhouse gases that are driving climate change, he said. These technologies have also enabled installations to be more resilient to blackouts.

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