We see the impacts of climate change every day, here at home and around the world.
A melting Arctic, unprecedented droughts across the world, extreme examples of flooding, and uncontrollable wildfires are all examples of the changing climate. These present a greater challenge than just new and different weather patterns: it is challenging the world’s security architecture to prepare for and adapt to new security challenges.
The question for citizen and policy makers is how to effectively respond to these challenges.
As citizens we owe it to our family, community and country to educate ourselves on the facts about climate change and how human activity is the primary cause.
We also should appreciate that the responses to climate change – how we can effectively address the causes and effects – should not be glib or be PR stunts.
Effective responses to climate change by their very nature will be complex and need to be framed over the medium and long term.
In an effort to disrupt energy companies and further stigmatize them, movements around the world have been conceived around the notion of encouraging certain organizations and institutions to divest in oil and gas companies. The intended outcome from this divestment is to lead to a shift in the energy market, thus leading to renewed interest in renewable energies and decreased carbon emissions.
The majority of these divestment campaigns are aimed at universities and their respective investments with oil and energy companies. Although some of these campaigns have witnessed divestment in places abroad, like in the United Kingdom and Australia, the majority of academic institutions in the United States oppose the measure to divest.
These divestment coalitions, either student-led or backed by larger donors, have taken up the cause to university heads, demanding that this action be taken in order to mitigate the impact of climate change.
Our new report focuses on on how effective these divestment campaigns has been and can be in the United States – on effectively combating the effects of global climate change.
The research paper explores various solutions that aim to mitigate and eventually reverse the effects of our current accelerating climate change.
We will be launching the paper at this event:
Climate Change the Facts
Evidence shows that the global rise in temperature correlates with the increased emissions of CO2 stemming from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution where levels were 40% lower. In the late 1800s, CO2 concentrations were at about 285 ppm (parts per million), whereas in August 2012, levels were over 396 ppm, and have been increasing for the past decade at 2.0 ppm per year.
Today, human activity is responsible for producing nearly 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year; a number that has more than quadrupled since the 1950s.
The United States alone is the second largest producer of emissions, following China.
As climate change occurs, what we can expect to see is a variety of factors affecting the world at large. Climate change can lead to unseasonably cold or hot temperatures and drastic weather patterns that lead to drought or floods, which directly influence food and water availability. In parts of the world, like Asia and Africa, these effects are already apparent, and their impact on the local human population can be staggering.
Where the United States is concerned, climate change poses three core national security threats: global instability, military infrastructure and homeland security.