ASP Board Member John Kerry Speaks at Climate and Security Conference in Berlin Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of State

ASP Board Member John Kerry Speaks at Climate and Security Conference in Berlin

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On Tuesday, June 4th, ASP board member and former US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the Climate and Security Conference in Berlin, co-organized by the German government, the think tank adelphi, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Kerry expressed his concern with the lack of global progress but expressed optimism over solutions:

“People are doing this, yes, but we’re not doing what we know we need to do… We need to prove that good governing is good economics, and that solving climate change is not just a way to save lives and stop climate’s geopolitical fallout; it is a way to create the jobs of the future that will put people back to work everywhere.”

The summit brought together leading figures in government, international organizations, the scientific community, and civil society to discuss the security threats that climate change poses. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that climate action belongs at the top of the international agenda, stating that “the fight against the security policy consequences of climate change requires a global effort.” Prior to the summit, an article by the German foreign ministry identified water scarcity, displacement, and loss of livelihoods as some of the greatest security threats.

The German government formally launched the Berlin Call for Action, demanding more United Nations experts on climate and security in affected regions, better climate policy in sustainable development, and security and peacebuilding in UN programs. Last year, Germany and Pacific state Nauru launched the Group of Friends on Climate and Security in the United Nations, aiming to bring states together to cooperate on solutions for the impact of climate change on security policy.

“We are living in a very dangerous moment, a deeply disturbing moment and a war on science… Facts are under assault, truth is mobbed” Kerry said, emphasizing the imperative for science and multilateral diplomacy to address the security risks of climate change. “That is not how you make any nation great, and that is not how you protect people in the world.”