Climate Risks, the Economy, and National Security

Whether in the public or private sector, long-term economic planning rarely takes climate change into account. Yet a warming climate will significantly affect many sectors of the economy, including those related to our national security infrastructure and operations. Just within the United States, recent work by the Risky Business Project has found that sea level rise and the resulting storm surges will result in the destruction of billions of dollars of coastal property by mid-century. At the same time, extreme heat will decrease crop yields, undermine labor productivity for outdoor workers, increase energy demand, and significantly increase violent crime. Updated analysis built on the Risky Business model shows that the same kinds of impacts will be felt even more strongly overseas, especially in the Middle East and the global South. These models show serious implications for our military installations and operations both at home and abroad. But these outcomes are not inevitable: they can be minimized through granular climate risk analysis that takes into account potential impacts across military operations.