Military planners see climate change as a "threat multiplier"(1) or "conflict accelerant" (2) that they must take into account.

(1) The Defense Departments 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Report, page 84-85

"Climate change will shape the operating environment, roles, and missions that we undertake....

Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration.  While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world."

(2) A 2007 study commissioned by the Pentagon, Climate Change and National Security (2007).   Main points (p. 6-7)

  • Projected climate change poses a serious threat to America's national security.
  • Climate change acts as a threat multiplier in some of the most volatile regions of the world.
  • Climate change will add to tensions even in the stable regions of the world.
  • Climate change, national security and energy dependence are a related set of global challenges.