Carolyn Lamere wrote an interesting piece on the New Security Beat yesterday looking at super Typhoon Bopha, climate change, vulnerability and national security. The storm hit the Philippines in December of last year. The article investigates the factors that worsened the impact of the storm, such as agriculture, logging and mining practices, and difficulties in disseminating information about local hazards, and reflects on both the unexpected nature of the storm, and the possibility of more such storms in a climate-changing future. Lamere also notes that the typhoon had immediate national security implications:
Though one might think that devastated infrastructure and livelihoods would inflame tensions, at least the in the short term, Bopha has brought an end to hostilities. Government troops had been stationed on Mindanao to combat the separatists, but following the storm, they began to disperse aid, and the rebels called a ceasefire to allow the troops to better serve the affected population.
These potential national security implications of extreme weather events, on top of the devastating humanitarian consequences, make a strong case for urgent investments in bolstering the country’s resilience to climate change. As we stated in a previous blog:
…given existing projections for climate change in the Philippines, as well as observed temperature and rainfall changes, particularly in the north and south, the U.S. and its allies should not wait for 100% certainty before acting to build the country’s resilience to climate change, and any security breakdowns that might be accelerated by it (whether that involves food, water or energy security).
Finally, while Lamere focuses on Typhoon Bopha and the Philippines, the lessons can be extended beyond the region.