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James Stavridis

Climate Change Is a Military Problem for the US

Concrete plans are needed to address every looming danger from sea-level rise to an opening Arctic.

Russia’s border on the melting Arctic.

Russia’s border on the melting Arctic.

Photographer: Anna Andrianova/Bloomberg

The US military has its hands full at the moment with a vicious war in Ukraine and US-China tensions over issues from human rights to sovereignty over the South China Sea. But it cannot delay taking action to address climate change, the most persistent strategic threat we face.

As a young naval officer, I took for granted the many beautiful home ports at which our fleet was berthed. Now, rising sea levels are threatening many of them. Both Norfolk, Virginia – the largest naval base in the world – and Mayport, Florida, stand to see significant loss of waterfront berths by mid-century. Climate change puts our strategic base network at risk.