April 05, 2018
PORTLAND, ME – Tonight, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) moderated a panel discussion on “National Security Impacts of Climate Change,” hosted by the Natural Resources Council of Maine at the University of Southern Maine’s (USM) Hannaford Hall.
“Climate change isn’t simply an environmental risk – it is a serious threat to our national security,” said Senator King. “As the climate shifts across the world, it will produce ripple effects ranging from the likelihood of increased famine to additional forced migration, which can be precursors to conflict. Additionally, sea level rise will affect our coastal military bases, and rising temperatures and melting in the Arctic will open up the region to increased activity. These shifts represent substantial challenges to our national security, but they also represent opportunities that can enhance our national security if we devote time and resources to understand the changes ahead. That is exactly what this conversation did, and I look forward to further dialogues to help understand and mitigate the impacts of climate change on our national security.”
As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committees, Senator King has worked to mitigate the impacts of climate change and underscore its significance for U.S. national security interests and military readiness. During a hearing before the Armed Services Committee in March, Senator King pressed Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats on the annual worldwide threat assessment from DNI that underscored the significance climate change may have on U.S. national security. During his questioning, Senator King highlighted the ramifications of climate change for human migration patterns, famine, and potential conflict around the globe. Senator King is also a co-chair of the Senate Arctic Caucus.
Participants in the discussion included Lieutenant General John Castellaw (Ret.) and Roger Sorkin. Lt. Gen. Castellaw, a former Marine aviator and chief of staff for the U.S. Central Command during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, served 36 years in the Marine Corps. Following his service, he founded the Crockett Policy Institute in Tennessee, a non-partisan research organization, and sits on the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition National Security Advisory Council and the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board. Sorkin is an award-winning producer, writer and director, whose recent film Tidewater examines the risks sea level rise pose to national security in Norfolk, Virginia and around the world. In addition, the event included introductory remarks from Glen Cummings, President of the USM, and Lisa Pohlmann, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.