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CCS on Climate Change, Defense and Australia-US Relations

Members_of_the_Papua_New_Guinea_Defense_Force_prepare_to_embark_aboard_the_Royal_Australian_Navy_landing_ship_heavy_HMAS_Tobruk_(L50)The Center for Climate and Security’s Co-Director, Francesco Femia was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s planned visit to the United States later this week. Prime Minister Abbott has apparently canceled meetings with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and there is some speculation that this might have occurred as a result of President Obama’s recent climate change policy announcement, and push to have climate change put back on the G20 agenda (Australia will be hosting the G20 Summit later this year). To date, Prime Minister Abbott has been hesitant  to engage on the subject of climate change. Despite the politics of the issue, however, the Australian Defence Force has been taking climate change seriously for some time.

In light of this, Femia had this to say:

LISA MILLAR: The Centre for Climate and Security is a Washington based institute with an advisory board of senior retired military.

The centre’s co-director Francesco Femia says the Australian Defence Force is already cooperating on climate change.

FRANCESCO FEMIA: And that’s sort of this interesting undercurrent. The Australian and American military establishments don’t play politics with climate change. They both see it as a security risk that must be addressed and addressed jointly, and the Australian Defence Forces have closely co-operated with the US Department of Defense on the issue, particularly in the context of [the] US-Asia Pacific rebalance and the potential destabilising effects of climate change in the region.

LISA MILLAR: He fully expects that this week Mr Abbott will be under even more pressure to make climate change a more important issue at the G20 talks.

The next planning meeting for the G20 takes place in Melbourne in a fortnight.

See this link to hear the full interview (beginning at 16:30) or read the transcript.

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