Four-Star Warning: US Military Refuses To Be ‘Too Late’ On Climate Change

800px-Douglas_MacArthur_lands_Leyte1On the heels of the Department of Defenses’ updated Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board members General Anthony Zinni, USMC (ret), former commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, General Ron Keys, USAF (ret), former commander of U.S. Air Combat Command , and Admiral Frank “Skip” Bowman, USN (ret), the former director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and the deputy administrator for Naval Reactors in the NNSA, wrote an Op-ed titled: “The US military refuses to be ‘too late’ on climate change.” The Op-ed was picked-up by over 30 newspapers across the United States and globally.

It begins by drawing on sage advice from General Douglas MacArthur:

More than a year before the United States formally entered World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur warned that “The history of failure in war can almost be summed up in two words: Too late. Too late in comprehending the deadly purpose of a potential enemy. Too late in realizing the mortal danger. Too late in preparedness. Too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance.”

Today, as we pass another global heat record, we run the risk of being too late on climate change, endlessly debating causes at the expense of sensible actions. Just as we have underestimated recent threats, such as the Islamic State and a revanchist Russia, we are in danger of underestimating those threats that follow a changing climate.

The authors also draw on their combined experience in preparing for a wide range of security risks to emphasize the need for being more prepared for climatic risks:

As former military leaders who operated in a wide variety of unstable, climate-stressed environments, on land, on water and underwater, we know these are not hypothetical concerns. That’s why the Pentagon’s recommendation that climate change considerations be integrated into guidance to combatant commanders is the kind of forward-leaning action we should expect across the U.S. government.

Here is a link to the full Op-ed in Stars & Stripes.

Event: US Foreign Policy, Climate Change and Natural Resources

Water_reservoir,_yemenThe World Affairs Council is hosting (and live-streaming) an event tomorrow evening titled: In Pursuit of Prosperity: US Foreign Policy in an Era of Resource Scarcity. It is a timely topic and includes an impressive set of speakers.

The event is from 6:30-7:30Pm (presumably Pacific time) at the World Affairs Council Headquarters in San Francisco. If you are not able to attend you can watch it online as well. (more…)

New Book: Climate Change and European Security

EU High Representative Ashton Speaks at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland , photo by US Dept of State

EU High Representative Ashton Speaks at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland

Routledge has just released a new book, Climate Change and European Security, by Richard Youngs, a senior associate with the democracy and rule of law program at Carnegie Europe. This book provides an important synthesis of how the European Union has set about integrating climate change concerns into its foreign and security policy. The top line summary of the book notes that despite some advances in this space, there is still ample progress to be made: (more…)

Media Roundup: The Pentagon’s Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap

FEMA__Flooded_road_in_rural_MissouriThe Department of Defense released its 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (CCAR) last week. The very first sentence of the report notes: “Climate change will affect the DoD’s ability to defend the nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security.” This is some of the strongest language we’ve seen from the DoD, making it clear that the U.S. military views climate change as an immediate risk, not just a future concern. This resulted in a significant amount of media coverage around the report, which we have compiled below. (more…)

UK to Integrate Climate Change Into Military Planning

800px-Rt_Hon_Edward_Davey_MP,_Secretary_of_State_for_Energy_and_Climate_Change,_UK_(7555125784)UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey, announced at a Green Growth Summit at the European Parliament in Brussels that the UK would be integrating climate risks into its military planning, stating that:

The expected impacts of climate change will be integrated into the UK’s next strategic defence and security review, expected next summer, just before the Paris conference.


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