Blind to the threat

Blind to the threat

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Satellite observation is vital to understanding climate change and the threat it poses to national security, but the U.S. government has ignored warnings that the aging environmental satellite system is close to collapse. Now the Obama administration wants to make up for lost time — but increased satellite spending will face some Republicans in Congress who call climate change a hoax.

Losing the Andes glaciers

Losing the Andes glaciers

HUARAZ, Peru — U.S. officials have called climate change in South America a national security threat, but little has been done. Rapid glacier melt in the Andes is a leading example; how the U.S. chooses to respond will affect the region’s stability, and Americans’ national security.

How climate change threatens the homeland

How climate change threatens the homeland

Changes in climate are already underway across the United States, affecting the its economy, cities and coasts. Watch the videos to find out more about the threats facing the nation.

Our man in the greenhouse

Our man in the greenhouse

WASHINGTON–Drought, crop losses and natural disasters breed state instability,violence and extremism, and climate change stands to make bad situations worse. But current and former national security officials say the U.S. government needs to know a lot more to prepare for the coming threat.

U.S. military grasps effects of the rising tide

U.S. military grasps effects of the rising tide

RAJENDRAPUR, Bangladesh–Experts say sea level rise could engulf 17 percent of Bangladesh’s landmass and displace 20 million people by 2050. The U.S. military is just now acknowledging that such 21st century challenges will require large-scale humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.


The connections

A complex climate threat

The U.S. intelligence community is laboring to understand how the vast array of changes being brought on by climbing global temperatures will affect American interests at home and abroad.

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The conversation

How does climate change affect U.S. security?

What climate change impacts are military leaders, experts and scientists most concerned about? Find out what over a dozen experts say about the issue.

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The Game

Solve this global crisis

Think you have what it takes to respond to storms in the Gulf Coast, melting in the Arctic, drought in Africa and floods in Bangladesh? Take our quiz.

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The events

Climate change through the years

See how defense policy has coevolved with scientific developments, extreme weather events and domestic and international policy.

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Recent Articles

Reaction to Global Warning project

By Heather Somerville Medill National Security Reporting Project Reporting from Washington “I think student journalists don’t often get the respect that working journalists get. I think we proved that when you have all the pieces in place, have the right students and have the right topic, you can do innovative stuff.” – Heather Somerville, a […]

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Blind to the threat

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Satellite observation is vital to understanding climate change and the threat it poses to national security, but the U.S. government has ignored warnings that the aging environmental satellite system is close to collapse. Now the Obama administration wants to make up for lost time — but increased satellite spending will face some Republicans in Congress who call climate change a hoax.

read more

Losing the Andes glaciers

HUARAZ, Peru — U.S. officials have called climate change in South America a national security threat, but little has been done. Rapid glacier melt in the Andes is a leading example; how the U.S. chooses to respond will affect the region’s stability, and Americans’ national security.

read more

Our man in the greenhouse

WASHINGTON–Drought, crop losses and natural disasters breed state instability,violence and extremism, and climate change stands to make bad situations worse. But current and former national security officials say the U.S. government needs to know a lot more to prepare for the coming threat.

read more

Houston oil infrastructure exposed to storms

HOUSTON- Lessons from Hurricane Ike reveal weaknesses in Houston’s defenses against storms and rising sea water. Climate scientists and storm modelers expect the effects of climate change to make crucial energy infrastructure there more vulnerable.

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Disease: A top U.S. security threat

WASHINGTON–The U.S. is just getting started on dealing with the potential health impacts of climate change, according to some experts and U.S. officials, who say it could contribute to the dangerous spread of infectious diseases and possibly pandemics

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U.S. military grasps effects of the rising tide

RAJENDRAPUR, Bangladesh–Experts say sea level rise could engulf 17 percent of Bangladesh’s landmass and displace 20 million people by 2050. The U.S. military is just now acknowledging that such 21st century challenges will require large-scale humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

read more

Arctic military posturing heats up

KODIAK, Alaska–While many of the national security threats posed by climate change exist in the realm of the future, the changes in the Arctic are happening right now —but some say the U.S. government is unprepared for the challenges they bring.

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