Climate change cited as Pacific's biggest security threat

The United State's top military official in the Pacific says the biggest long term security threat in the region is climate change.

In an interview with the Boston Globe Admiral Samuel J Locklear III, commander, US Pacific Command said significant upheaval related to the warming planet "is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.''

He told the Globe that people were surprised to hear that warning from him.

"You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level," he 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 said his headquarters in Hawaii was working with Asian nations to stockpile supplies in strategic locations and planning a major exercise for May with nearly two dozen countries to practice the "what-ifs."

He said he was increasingly focussed on sea level rise.

"The ice is melting and sea is getting higher," Locklear said.


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