Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told an environmental group on May 2 that climate change is emerging as a threat to national security.
“The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security,” Panetta announced at a reception hosted by the Environmental Defense Fund. “Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
Panetta is concerned about the effect of climate change as well as the “budget shortfall” due to “higher-than-expected fuel costs this year.” He vowed to invest “more than a billion dollars in more efficient aircraft and aircraft engines, in hybrid electric drives for our ships, in improved generators, in microgrids for combat bases and combat vehicle energy-efficient programs.”
He also addressed threats not related to climate change: “I have a deep interest in working to try to ensure from a security perspective that we take measures that will help facilitate and maintain power in the event of an interruption of the commercial grid that could be caused, for example, by a cyberattack which is a reality that we have to confront.”