Near the polar cap, waterways are opening that we could not have imagined a few years ago, rewriting the geopolitical map of the world. Rising sea levels could lead to mass migrations similar to what we have seen in Pakistan’s recent flooding. Climate shifts could drastically reduce the arable land [available that is] needed to feed a burgeoning population as we have seen in parts of Africa. As glaciers melt and shrink at a faster rate, crucial water supplies may diminish further in parts of Asia. This impending scarcity of resources compounded by an influx of refugees if coastal lands disappear not only could produce a humanitarian crisis, but also could generate conditions that could lead to failed states and make populations more vulnerable to radicalization. These troubling challenges highlight the systemic implications – and multiple-order effects – inherent in energy security and climate change.
Admiral Mike Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Forces Quarterly, January 2011