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ASP’s Climate Security Report: An Invaluable and Timely Assessment

The American Security Project released its new Climate and Security Report yesterday, authored by Senior Fellow Andrew Holland, and Adjunct Fellow Catherine Foley.

The report comprehensively addresses both the current and projected implications of climate change for global security, and the security of the U.S. homeland.

In the section on global security, Holland and Foley highlight large parts of Asia and Africa as the most vulnerable to climate change, while identifying key “hot-spots” that national security planners should be focusing on, including “Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, the East-Asia Pacific, and the Arctic.” (shameless plug: in the section on “The Arab Spring and World Food Prices,” Holland and Foley cite our article from February, “Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest.”)

The section on U.S. domestic security is an exhaustive and much-needed survey of every region in the United States (organized by regional climate variations), and how the security of these regions are affected by current, observable climatic changes, and projected changes for the future. They conclude that extreme weather events will present “the most acute threat to infrastructure and to the livelihoods of American citizens,” that America’s military bases are “directly threatened” by that extreme weather, that gradual warming may have a long-term negative impact on human health and economic activity, and that though the U.S. government has begun to prepare itself for the effects of climate change, “a lack of political consensus and long-term foresight is holding back efforts to strategically prepare for the long-term effects of climate change.”

The full report is certainly worth a read, especially in light of the recent devastation wrought by hurricane Sandy on the East Coast of the United States, and the recent droughts and wildfires that affected nearly 80% of the country. Let’s hope that policy-makers and implementers at all levels of national, sub-national and international security, take a long look as well.

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