A bipartisan group of senior retired military officers and national security officials recently signed a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, encouraging him to lead on addressing the security implications of climate change, and to work together with Secretary of Defense James Mattis in that effort.
The letter highlighted the importance of the G7 as an entity for driving practical climate risk management. It stated,
“The G7’s Climate Fragility Working Group’s analysis of instability risks and description of commensurate policy responses, as well as its coordination work to implement these policies within G7 governments, are particularly important given that they directly relate to our national security interests.
“A strong signal in the communiqué that G7 governments are committed to maintaining agreements to address climate security risks would lay the foundation for a structured and deliberate response to the phenomenon, and its attendant impacts on the global security environment.”
The upcoming G7 Summit in Sicily on May 26-27 is a critical moment for major economies to express their intentions on acting to address climate risks. It will send a signal to other governments and the private sector as to whether high-level momentum for climate action will carry forward.
As the senior military leaders affirm in the letter, and as the Department of Defense and intelligence community have warned since the early years of the George W. Bush Administration, it is vital for US national security interests that the international community proactively get ahead of this challenge before it becomes unmanageable.
At such a juncture, we encourage Sec. Tillerson to act in the interests of US national security and show leadership on the issue among the international community – not least as that leadership can aid us in advancing our other vital security interests.