Saturday, March 19, 2016

Defense Department Redefines Climate Change

The Department of Defense dictionary. (Credit: Department of Defense) Click to visit.
So what does climate change” mean, exactly?

The question is not an existential one for the Department of Defense; it is a matter of careful and literal consideration.

The department recently decided that the standard Webster’s definition of “climate change” didn’t quite meet its needs.  So it added its own version to its homegrown dictionary, the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms.

Here’s how it now defines “climate change”:
Variations in average weather conditions that persist over multiple decades or longer that encompass increases and decreases in temperature, shifts in precipitation, and changing risk of certain types of severe weather events.
The dictionary, which is used in part to standardize military communication, is updated monthly, and the new entry on climate change was made public in late February.

The military adds definitions when the Webster’s dictionary entry is considered insufficient, Richard R. Osial, a spokesman for the Joint Staff, explained in an email.  And definitions can have policy implications.

This new explanation for climate change was added because “there are many definitions for climate change floating around right now,” and the department needs “to ensure that whenever the term is used in Department of Defense issuances, it has a specific definition,” Mr. Osial wrote.

Through this definition and other policy plans, the department has acknowledged that the country’s landscapes, climates and resources will likely undergo serious changes because of rising temperatures and other risks associated with climate change.

Specifically, the department anticipates “increased need for air, sea and land capabilities and capacity in the Arctic region,” and “damage from thawing permafrost and sea ice in Alaska and the Arctic region,” Mr. Osial wrote.

Read more at Defense Department Redefines Climate Change

No comments:

Post a Comment