Earth’s average annual temperature is rising, and as service members adjust to new climate realities, the Defense Department must do its part to combat climate change.
The Earth is 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in the late 1800s. The last decade, 2011-2020, was the warmest on record. The increase in thermal energy trapped in the atmosphere has had enormous consequences around the globe.
There are historic droughts in many parts of the world, including the western United States and in the countries of East Africa. Desertification is expanding the Sahara and Gobi Deserts. Heat waves are longer and hotter, contributing to more wildfires. According to climate experts, the intensity of hurricanes is projected to increase over the coming decades.
Some recent examples include the heat dome over Europe, where London — the capital of a country where 85 degrees Fahrenheit is generally considered hot — had a temperature of 105 degrees, and the catastrophic flooding in St. Louis and eastern Kentucky.
“DOD must prepare for and adapt to these changes,” Iris A. Ferguson, who is leading on this effort for the Office of the undersecretary of defense for policy, said. Ferguson is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Arctic and global resilience. She is a principal advisor to the secretary …