General Tom Middendorp, Chair of the IMCCS, was recently interviewed for an article in the Dutch publication NRC. In it, he highlights the intersection of climate change and security, stating: “Millions of people are or will be affected.” The article discusses the launch of the IMCCS in February 2019, noting that the group develops knowledge on the subject (and will in the future through the forthcoming World Climate and Security report), which is then shared with defense ministries and governments worldwide. Read the article here (it’s in Dutch).
By Marc Kodack
A recent article published in The Telegraph summarizes the text of a prepared speech by Australia’s Defence Force Chief, General Angus Campbell, which was described as “signed off by all of Defence, including the Chief of the Defence Force, as their official views… on climate change as a national security threat.” The speech was given at an invitation-only event in Australia; thus, it is unclear if the text was presented only as written. In the speech, a reference is made to Australia sending more military personnel to assist with climate-related disasters, both domestic and international, than it had at any one time in Afghanistan to conduct military operations. The speech states that Australia is in “the most natural disaster-prone region in the world” and that “climate change is predicted to make disasters more extreme and more common.” It also warns that the Federal Government’s actions on climate change could “affect relationships with Pacific island nations, who have repeatedly called on Australia to do more to reduce carbon emissions.” In that context, it warns of China filling the gap in leadership left by Australian policy, stating:
According to Kenya’s NTV News, during a closing ceremony after a joint exercise between the Kenyan and Jordanian armed forces, Kenya’s Defense Cabinet Secretary, Raychelle Awour Omamo, identified climate change, environmental degradation and health security as “the major security threats emerging in Kenya today.” Cabinet Secretary Omamo stated: “These nontraditional security challenges continue to threaten the state and international peace.”
In yesterday’s episode of U.S. National Public Radio’s On Point, Meghna Chakrabarti interviewed journalist Emily Atkin and Francesco Femia, Manager and Senior Advisor of the IMCCS and Co-Founder of the Center for Climate and Security, to discuss the implications of climate change for global instability and conflict. The show built upon an article in the New Republic by Emily Atkin, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, exploring a catastrophic 2100 climate scenario. Francesco touched on a number of topics, including climate risks to militaries and the broader geostrategic environment. Listen to the On Point episode here. The segment with Francesco Femia starts at 25:05, but the full show is worth a listen.
In an article published today by the IPI Global Observatory, Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia, Managers and Senior Advisors to the IMCCS, and Co-Founders of the Center for Climate and Security, highlight the “Responsibility to Prepare” principle regarding climate change, which rests on the idea that unprecedented climate change risks coupled with society’s foresight about those risks, creates clear responsibility for preventive and preparatory actions that are commensurate to the risk. The article is part of a series that the IPI Global Observatory is publishing in advance of Climate Week in New York (watch this space for more). Click here for the full article.
By Marc Kodack
In an article published today, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, Chief of the British General Staff, said the current generation of tactical vehicles may be the last to be powered by fossil fuels. Benefits to ending this dependence on fossil fuels would be logistical, e.g. reduce the logical tail risk, and put the British Army on “the right side of the environmental argument.” He called on British industry to develop the next generation of vehicles that are simultaneously “battle winning but also environmentally sustainable.” Doing so would also assist in influencing the career decisions of future recruits who may consider “prospective employer’s environmental credentials.”
In an article published today on the anniversary of 9/11 by the IPI Global Observatory, General Tom Middendorp, Chair of the IMCCS and former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands, and Reinier Bergema of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, highlight the links between climate change, water insecurity, and violent extremism – particularly in “Western, Central, and Eastern Africa, and several countries in the Middle East.” The article is part of an article series that the IPI Global Observatory is publishing in advance of Climate Week in New York (watch this space for more).
Click here for the full article.
Sherri Goodman, Secretary General of the IMCCS and Senior Strategist with the Center for Climate and Security, recently spoke to TRT World about the effect of climate change on devastating storms such as Hurricane Dorian. She spoke about the the need to both prevent a future of more frequent and intense storms by reducing the scale and scope of climate change, and preparing for these changes through investments in climate resilience. Prevention and preparation will be key to saving more lives in the future, building resilient communities, and bolstering security. Watch the full interview here:
In a September 5th interview with Andrea Mitchell, former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis spoke about the importance of addressing the security threat of climate change, much as he did while he was Secretary of Defense from 2017-2019. In particular, he addressed skeptical audiences, stating: “why wouldn’t we take out an insurance policy and do prudent steps to make certain the generation that’s coming up is not going to be caught flat-footed by this?” Here’s the clip:
On August 29, EU defence ministers met to discuss “the effect of climate change on defence and security,” as part of a two-day meeting covering a range of critical security issues. The meeting, hosted in Helsinki by Finland, who currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, was chaired by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. In her remarks following the meeting, Mogherini had this to say about the robust climate and defence conversation that occurred.
This morning we discussed two other issues that are particularly important from a strategic point of view for the European Union and that are also in nature global issues that require global and European responses. First of all, the issue of climate change. I think the European Union has been among the first to identify climate change as a security threat, a security challenge, as a security threat multiplier. And we have gone through the different connections – direct and indirect links – between climate change and defence and security issues. Also this we have discussed together with the UN and NATO, because we are looking for synergies in this field and we want to avoid duplication of thinking and reflections in this field. We can put together many of the work strands we, the EU, NATO and the UN, are developing on the links between security and defence and climate change.
In particular, we discussed with the Ministers two issues related to climate change and defence: one is how to make sure that the militaries contribute to address climate change issues, in particular reducing the energy dependency and its carbon footprint and in this way contributing to address climate change effects. That can also be helpful in terms of effectiveness and efficiency of operations on the ground. We also discussed the effect of climate change on conflicts, or on crisis areas that can affect the ways in which militaries could be deployed in these theatres. How can we foresee to adapt our capabilities, our way of working on the ground, in theatres where climate change creates situations that are different from the ones we have today. You can already see the connection present in some areas, in the Sahel for instance or other areas, where the militaries deployed – be they UN, NATO or EU or national militaries – have to face a situation on the ground that is evolving in terms of climate change conditions. We need to adapt our capacity to operate in these theatres.
Read Mogherini’s full remarks here.