There is broad scientific consensus that our climate is changing, due primarily to the burning of fossil fuels for energy, deforestation, and other human activities that release greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. The debate surrounding climate change action has many facets, with significant attention given to issues such as the global competitiveness of American industry, the effect of climate legislation on job growth, and the potential environmental impacts of non-action. A frequently overlooked perspective is the impact of climate change on U.S. national security. This issue brief attempts to fill that void, examining the national security consequences of rising sea levels and changes in temperature and precipitation patterns across the globe. Topics addressed include resource conflict, economic stress, population dislocation, humanitarian relief and military preparedness. Other issues, such as the critical relationship between the U.S. energy supply (especially oil) and national security, are beyond the scope of this brief.
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