Climate Adaptation at the Department of Defense and Beyond

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

As climate change continues to pose a global threat, new research from the University of Arizona looks at how it may be impacting the world's largest employer: the U.S. Department of Defense.

A team of University of Arizona researchers set out to understand how climate change might affect Department of Defense facilities and activities across the globe, and what actions the department can take to both respond to climate-related threats and reduce its own contributions to climate change.

With a budget larger than many countries and a huge influence on global politics, the DOD has the potential to serve as an example for other large organizations, or even cities, when it comes to climate adaptation and climate change mitigation strategies, say the researchers, whose results are published in the journal Climate Services.

The team looked specifically at four military bases in the southwestern United States: Fort Huachuca in Southern Arizona, Naval Base Coronado in Southern California, and Arizona's Barry M. Goldwater Range East and Barry M. Goldwater Range West.

"The DOD will need to adapt to climate to protect its own facilities, activities, resources and infrastructure," said study co-author Don Falk, a professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment.

"There have been a surprisingly large number of forward-thinking policy statements related to climate adaptation within the DOD," Falk said. "The department has recognized for a long time that climate change is serious business."

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