Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Climate Change and the Politics of Military Bases

February 22, 2018

Climate Change and the Politics of Military Bases was published in the February 2018 issue of Global Environmental Politics, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Between 1953 and 1967, the U.S. Army maintained secret military bases in Greenland as precursors for a nuclear ballistic missile complex. Though the bases were eventually abandoned, considerable waste was left behind. Now, climate change is creating “knock-on environmental problems” poised to remobilize the pollutants into the surface water, creating a risk for humans.

With hundreds of overseas bases that require continuous coordination with host governments, the U.S. could face political contestation across the globe as these knock-on problems come to light.

Using the Project Iceworm site, Professor Jeff Colgan details these consequences in a new study and looks to create a framework for understanding the impact of the environmental problems at U.S. military bases.

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