The commander of the US Navy's Pacific operations is warning that the impact of climate change will be the biggest new security threat to the region, which is already volatile due to threats by North Korea's government and China's growing military power. But in an interview with The Boston Globe over the weekend, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear said that the effects of global warming could "cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about." Locklear also outlined some specific examples of new types of scenarios that could emerge as a consequence of climate change: "You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level," he told the newspaper.
"You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level."
The Navy had previously openly warned that climate change will pose an increasing challenge to its operations, creating a special task force back in 2009 specifically designed to evaluate climate change scenarios and provide recommandations to Navy leadership, as well as "to lead public discussion on this serious issue." The Navy also published reports outlining its strategies for dealing with climate change in Arctic waters and around the world more broadly. Still, the Navy seems confident of its ability to handle the situation, with an oceanographer with the branch saying in 2010: "At the end of the day, throughout the 21st century no matter what the climate is our Navy is ready and able to answer the call of the secretary of defense and the president of the United States."