U.S. Admiral: climate change, not North Korea, biggest threat in the Pacific

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
March 13, 2013



Rising sea levels may force inhabitants of Tarawa to abandon the island by the end of century. The island is home to over 45,000 people. Photo by: NASA.
Rising sea levels may force inhabitants of Tarawa to abandon the island by the end of century. The island is home to over 45,000 people. Photo by: NASA.

This week, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear II, the head of U.S. military forces in the Pacific, told The Boston Globe that climate change was the gravest threat in the region. While such an assessment may be surprising, given North Korea's recent nuclear tests, the U.S. military has long viewed climate change as a massive destabilizing force on global security.

"You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level," Locklear said. "Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon 27 or 28 this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about 17."

Locklear pointed to plans for Tarawa Island in Kiribati to possibly move the entire population as rising sea levels continues to swamp the low-lying island.

Already some people have been relocated from the Carteret Islands due to rising sea levels, and a larger relocation effort is planned.

Burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrialized agriculture has raised global temperatures about 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Celsius) in the last century. While the world's nations have committed to keep temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, this will likely still mean that many low-lying islands and coastal areas will become uninhabitable. Worse still, nations are far from keeping their pledge with most scientists now believing temperatures this century will rise far above the 2 degree target with devastating global impacts.













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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (March 13, 2013).

U.S. Admiral: climate change, not North Korea, biggest threat in the Pacific .

http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0313-hance-locklear-climate.html