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The main cause of global

climate change
is the large amount of carbon dioxide and various other greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere, creating a barrier around the Earth, and responsible for increasing the Earth’s average temperature by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century (Webersik, 2010). This temperature increase has resulted in floods, droughts, extreme temperatures, and other weather changes that were not present a century ago. Global climate change indirectly weakens U.S. national

through its effects on critical infrastructure, public health, the economy, and conflicts over new or diminishing resources.

Global climate change impacts the quality of CI in two ways. First, climate change causes degradation in CI over time. For example, reinforced concrete currently being used in CI has become victim to the increased atmospheric carbon and higher temperatures caused by global climate change. Moreover, climate change has slowly rendered rebar brittle, corroded, and expanded, decreasing the life of the concrete from the expected seventy-five years to a shorter lifespan of fifty years.

Secondly, the natural disasters stemming from global climate change exploit the weaknesses of the aging CI. The inability of CI to adapt to these weather-related changes has been demonstrated over the past decade. For example, Hurricane Sandy, which hit the American northeast in 2012, was able to disrupt and cripple the critical infrastructure in less than two days, resulting in 4.7 million people over a dozen states losing electricity, flooded streets, submerged subways, the flooding of five New York waste water plants that released waste onto city streets, and billions of dollars’ worth of damage to businesses and homes (Wilbanks & Fernandez, 2014). Other examples of the impact of natural disasters on CI include the collapse of Alaska’s transportation sector and massive damage to water pipelines in Oklahoma, which will be discussed below. Look at the case of the transportation sector is an expansive, open, and accessible interconnected system of highways, roads, tracks, terminals, and pipelines that provide services that are essential to U.S. national security. This sector is depended on by many U.S. government actors to rapidly and securely move tradable goods and personnel through the U.S. and overseas.


Webersik, C. (2010). Climate Change and Security: A Gathering Storm of Global Challenges. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Wilbanks, T. J., & Fernandez, S. (2014). Climate Change and Infrastructure, Urban

, and Vulnerabilities: Technical Report for the U.S. Department of Energy in Support of the National Climate Assessment
. Washington, DC: Island Press.