Taking Up the Security Challenge of Climate Change

  • August 01, 2009
  • Mr Rymn J Parsons

Climate change, in which man-made global warming is a major factor, will likely have dramatic and long lasting consequences with profound security implications, making it a challenge the United States must urgently take up. The security implications will be most pronounced in places where the effects of climate change are greatest, particularly affecting weak states already especially vulnerable to environmental destabilization. Two things are vitally important: stemming the tide of climate change and adapting to its far-reaching consequences. This project examines the destabilizing effects of climate change and how the military could be used to mitigate global warming and to assist at-risk peoples and states to adapt to climate change, thereby promoting stability and sustainable security. Recommendations are made on the importance of U.S. leadership on the critical issue of global warming, on defining and dealing with the strategic dimensions of climate change, and, as a case in point, on how Sino-American cooperation in Africa would not only benefit areas where climate change effects are already pronounced, but also strengthen a crucial bilateral relationship.