Briefing Note: Climate Change and National Security
Last night, a number of Senators talked throughout the night about climate change.
The American Security Project, as a national security-focused think tank, believes that concern about climate change should be a non-partisan issue. While we know that the argument about solutions will be partisan, both sides should start with a common understanding that climate change poses real threats to national security.
Climate change is a national security threat that America’s military, and militaries around the world are taking seriously.
We know that the world’s armed forces have not suddenly determined that they want to save the environment – they foresee that climate change will harm their country’s national security. Our political leaders need to work on solutions, not argue about the existence of a clear threat.
Find out more: www.NationalSecurityandClimateChange.org
Below, you will find Five Key Points about Climate Security along with links to ASP reports, papers, and articles to support them. These points demonstrate the risks of climate change to the U.S. homeland and to American interests around the world.
ASP’s Five Key Points about Climate Security
1) The effects of climate change pose clear threats to U.S. Homeland Security: America’s infrastructure, food production, and American lives are at risk.
i) Climate Security Report: Climate Change & the Homeland
ii) Protecting the Homeland – The Rising Costs of Inaction on Climate Change
iii) Climate Change’s Threats to the United States – Lessons from the Netherlands
iv) Pay Now, Pay Later: A State-by-State Assessment of the Costs of Climate Change
2) Globally, how climate change interacts with society will determine the extent of security threats and the need for military involvement. Global threats include: migration, conflict over scarce resources, reduced food production, water insecurity, and others.
i) Climate Security Report: Climate Change & Global Security
ii) Climate Change, The Arab Spring and Food Prices
iii) The Global Security Defense Index on Climate Change
3) Climate change alone will not cause war, but it serves as an “accelerant of instability” or a “Threat Multiplier” that makes already existing threats worse.
i) National Security, Climate, and the Philippine Typhoon
ii) Global Warming Makes Solving the 21st Century’s Problems Much Harder
iii) Bay of Bengal – A Hotspot for Climate Insecurity
iv) Climate Change: The Missing Link in Tackling the Mali Crisis
v) A Clear and Present Danger: The Security Council and Climate Change
4) The science is definitive enough for action. The military is good at Risk Management: in battle, you cannot wait until you have 100% certainty before acting.
i) IPCC Report Shows Climate Change Risk is Real and Urgent
ii) Linking Climate Change and Conflict – New Report Stirs Old Debate
5) The U.S. Military is preparing for Climate Change by working with allies, studying potential threats, ensuring resilience to extreme weather, and preparing to deploy when needed. Militaries around the world are likewise preparing for the threats of climate change: over 70% of the countries in the world have identified climate change as a security threat, according to ASP’s Global Security Defense Index on Climate Change
i) The Global Security Defense Index on Climate Change: Preliminary Results
ii) QDR – The National Security Challenge of Climate Change
iii) The Arctic – Five Critical Security Challenges
|Andrew Holland, Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate|
@theandyholland BGen Stephen A. Cheney USMC (Ret)
US Government (Defense and Intelligence)
2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, U.S. Department of Defense
Department of Defense FY 2012 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap: Department of Defense
The National Military Strategy of the United States of America: Redefining America’s Military Leadership: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
National Intelligence Council Report: “Natural Resources in 2020, 2030, and 2040: Implications for the United States.”
National Intelligence Council: The Impact of Climate Change to 2030. Commissioned Research and Conference Reports
National Intelligence Assessment (NIA) on the National Security Implications of Climate Change to 2030
Organization for Security Co-operation in Europe (OSCE): Program Details, “Security Implications of Climate Change” (2014)
Australian Government: Strong and Secure – A Strategy for Australia’s National Security
UK Strategic Defense and Security Review: Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty
Climate Change Evidence & Causes, An overview from the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences
Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises, US National Academy of Science
IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, The Physical Science Basis