A sea change in environmental security is under way and moving fast. Climate change has captured the world's attention, and national-security establishments are scurrying to grasp its strategic implications. The Navy, first among the armed services to sense urgency, is quickly taking up the new challenges. The direction is right, but more is needed. The world in 2050 will be a very different place.
Present and predicted effects include more frequent and severe weather-related natural disasters; intensifying heat waves; wider, quickening desertification; longer-lasting and deeper drought; more damaging floods; wider-ranging, more destructive wildfires; habitat-altering ocean acidification; irreversible sea-level rise; and accelerating biodiversity loss. These could lead to large-scale displacements of peoples, especially unsustainable rural-to-urban migration. Escalating competition over new or scarce resources seems inevitable. Some states will fail as others grow more aggressive.