Ranch & Coast Magazine

June 2022

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Page 43 of 107

Focus military P EOPLE FIND IT INTERESTING, the seemingly ironic connection between climate change, which is seen as a progressive priority, and the military, which is seen as a conservative organization," says John Conger, Director Emeritus of e Center for Climate & Security. "But, the climate doesn't care if you're liberal or conservative, and the military is much more pragmatic than it is conservative." According to Conger, there are three primary reasons the military cares about climate change: one, it currently stops them from doing their job or makes it harder; two, it affects what their job will look like in the future; and three, changes in resource dynamics could lead to conflict among nations. In terms of preventing the military from doing its job today, wildfires have struck Camp Pendleton and forced evacuations at bases throughout California in recent years. In terms of the future, climate change not only threatens greater and more destructive natural disasters, it will also give the U.S. Navy an entirely new ocean to patrol in the Arctic. And as for conflicts among nations, add to the above list food insecurity, water scarcity, and migration, and it's a recipe for increased strife. As Conger says, "Protecting the environment is not [necessarily the foremost] concern. e military is looking to protect itself from the environment." Indeed, in 2015, the Department of the Navy made the largest purchase of renewable energy by any federal department — a 210 MW solar facility that will provide power to 14 land-based Navy and Marine facilities in the Southwest, including San Diego. Issues related to climate change have been in Department of Defense strategy documents for more than a decade — going back to the George W. Bush administration — and from the start, San Diego and its bases have been a priority because of their unique vulnerability to climate change. e Center for Climate & Security is a think tank comprised of retired generals, admirals, and government officials that looks to educate policymakers of both parties on climate issues as they relate to security. In 2017, the Center held an event in San Diego to discuss climate change and security issues as they affect the Pacific Coast — with Asia- Pacific being one of the most disaster-prone and climate- vulnerable regions of world. Home to numerous military installations, San Diego is known for the exceptional degree of collaboration among military, industry, and government leaders, and the 2017 conference included not only high- ranking members of the armed forces, but congressmen, then-mayor Faulconer, and representatives from non- governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, and the private sector. With roughly one in five jobs in San Diego being military-related, the risks of climate change are both a regional issue and a core element of U.S. national security and foreign policy, regardless of party affiliation. While e Center for Climate & Security is one arm of the Council on Strategic Risks, the other arm is e Center on Strategic Weapons, Nuclear Issues, and Biological reats, which is also focused on the San Diego region. A Frontline Force San Diego's military prepares for climate change BY BILL ABRAMS COURTESY PHOTOGRAPHY John Conger @ranchandcoast ranchandcoast.com 44 JUNE 2022 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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