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Climate Change & National Security

By Rob Mitchum // April 30, 2014

The effects of climate change are no longer restricted to meteorology and atmospheric physics, they are spilling out into agriculture, economics, politics, and even national security. Tonight, the Chicago Council on Science & Technologypresents a panel called The Multiplication of Threats: Climate Change & the Risks to National Security, where military officers, political experts, and RDCEP co-director Elisabeth Moyer will discuss how global changes in climate might cause political instability, mass human migration, drought, famine, and other crises that could threaten the United States in addition to warmer temperatures and rising sea levels.

To promote the event, Moyer appeared on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight on April 29th with retired Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney, CEO of the American Security Project, and Andrew Holland, senior fellow for Energy and Climate from the American Security Project. The panelists discussed why climate change needs to move beyond politics and how the US government can prepare for a potentially unstable future. Moyer also explains the current state of climate modeling, and talks about why Chicago may endure climate change better than most regions of the country.

“I would say if you are faced with a world under climate change and you said ‘where should I move to be most safe and secure,’ the Midwest United States is not a bad place to move” Moyer said. “In terms of local effects, Chicago is a heck of a lot better off than many other places…we don’t have storm surge worries, we don’t have hurricane worries, we have a big body of freshwater next to us, we’re not worried about water supply. We have very advanced farming that can hopefully adapt with changes as long as they’re slow enough.”

“I do think there’s many, many local consequences — just because we live in Chicago doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be worried,” Moyer continued. “But the big worries are these knock-on effects that affect the whole economy, that affect the whole world, that bring us into conflict with other countries. Those are the real reasons we should be worried, rather than simply something that will happen in our backyard.”

You can watch the full segment from Chicago Tonight at the WTTW website.

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