Planning for the Future: Addressing Climate Security Threats
With the second week of COP22 underway, climate change has been at the forefront of the news. Yesterday, the Climate Security Working Group – International released a consensus statement calling on world leaders to “address climate risks in their national, regional, and international security planning.” ASP CEO, General Stephen Cheney, and Director of Studies and Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate, Andrew Holland signed the statement, which notes that climate change is “already contributing to social upheaval and even violent conflict by making bad situations worse.” The statement also highlights the strain climate change places on civilian and military capabilities for disaster response. Without being able to respond to threats, the vulnerability of communities only increases. Finally, the statement argues for building climate action into existing alliances and major international forums, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the African Union, the UN Security Council, among others. These systems will not succeed into the future unless climate change is incorporated into their considerations.
General Cheney spoke further to the statement and the climate-security nexus on Wednesday morning with ABC Australia. He explained how climate change acts as a threat multiplier, increasing food insecurity, job loss, and potentially, resulting in instability. Citing the Arab Spring and current Syrian civil war, Gen. Cheney highlighted how climate change-related fires in Russia led to a skyrocketing of wheat prices, which in turn contributed to the Arab Spring riots. Action on climate change is critical to avoiding such consequences.
ASP has long been a proponent of both domestic and international action to combat climate change. One of the first organizations to delve into the climate-conflict nexus, ASP’s Global Security Defense Index provides a look into how countries around the world plan and respond to the growing climatic threats. ASP’s Climate Security Report examines the national and global security implications of climate change, educating leaders on current and future threats.
For more information on ASP’s work on climate change and security, click here.
For the full video of Gen. Cheney on ABC Australia, click here.