Last week, a group of academic and military experts representing both the U.S. and Britain gathered at a symposium at the Museum of Natural History. The symposium, Climate Change And Global Security, examined the reasons why any discussion about global warming should include a broader look at the implications for long-term global security. The moderator, Andrew Nagorski of the EastWest Institute, stated:
“What often does not come across in the discussions of climate change…is that the militaries of the U.S., the U.K., and other countries have for a long time operated on the assumption that climate change is something that you have to deal with. Whatever the causes, the consequences [of climate change], you have to factor it into your planning.”
Dennis V. McGinn, retired Vice Admiral of the U.S. Navy and member of the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board, does a good job of summing up how climate change poses a national security threat, and how it could destabilize societies around the world:
“From a military and national security expertise perspective we question ourselves, what are we doing taking about climate science, we’re collectively 400 years of time in uniform at peace and at war. Our chairman of the military advisory board General Gordon Sullivan, former Chief of Staff of the Army put it best. He said we never have 100 % certainty. If you wait for 100% certainty on the battlefield, something bad is going to happen. We never have it. So, from that conclusion about how we should approach this from a risk management proposition, what can we do to prevent, to mitigate what we can’t prevent and to adapt what we can neither prevent or mitigate, the effects of climate change. That is the challenge for us across the globe. Certainly, as a global leader that the US is we bear a special responsibility for rising to meet that challenge and to turn it into the opportunity that can make us more secure nationally and internationally and more prosperous in the future.”
Here is another video of the retired Vice Admiral speaking at a “Re-energize America” town hall meeting on the impact of America’s oil dependence on the national and economic security of the country.
If the British, U.S., and other militaries are taking the threat of climate change seriously, isn’t it time our politicians did, too?
To listen to the podcast of “Climate Change and Global Security” click here
Navigating Climate Change: An Agenda for U.S.-Chinese Cooperation , a report by the EastWest Institute