Climate Security: Building National Security
Climate change presents the greatest challenge of our time. It is a national security threat that America’s military, and militaries around the world are taking seriously. We are entering into the Age of Consequences.
Climate change alone will not cause wars, but it serves as an “Accelerant of Instability” or a “Threat Multiplier” that makes already existing threats worse. The threat of global warming for security will manifest through a range of effects: resource scarcity, extreme weather, food scarcity, water insecurity, and sea level rise will all threaten societies around the world. Too many governments are not prepared for these threats, either because they do not have the resources or because they have not planned ahead. How societies and governments respond to the increase in instability will determine whether climate change will lead to war. We’re really talking about violent events that require less organization like protests, riots and strikes.
- The science is definitive enough for action. We cannot wait until you have 100% certainty before acting.
- Climate change alone will not cause war, but it serves as an “accelerant of instability” that makes already existing threats worse.
- Global threats include: migration, conflict over scarce resources, reduced food production, water insecurity, and others.
- The military is preparing for climate change by, studying potential threats, and preparing to deploy when needed.
A perfect example of a national security treat was the Arab Spring. The terrific drought that struck that entire region in 2010 had global ramifications. It was especially disastrous for Egypt. The drought caused Russia and other exporters to end wheat exports. Somewhat unexpected, it made a major contribution to the blossoming of the Arab Spring. The country has only been able to sustain about half its needs. True, there was also a desire to embrace democracy, but that wasn’t what really drove the masses: it was the lack of wheat.
Traditionally, most of the people in the Sahel have been semi-nomads, farming and raising livestock in a system of transhumance, which is probably the most sustainable way of utilizing the Sahel. The Sahel, home to some 232 million people, comprising portions of ten (10) African countries, from left to right: [northern] Senegal, [southern] Mauritania, [central] Mali, [northern] Burkina Faso, [southern] Algeria, [southwestern] Niger, [northern] Nigeria, [central] Chad, [central] Sudan and [northern] Eritrea.
Contrast the situation in Ethiopia where these conditions are almost identical to Somali and South Sudan, which both have very poor governance. Ethiopia on the other hand is an active participant in the international climate change process of the UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change involved with risk mitigation and farmer adaptation. Generally, Ethiopia has not suffered in the same way as both South Sudan and Somali.