In a recent speech to the European Parliament, General Tom Middendorp, Chief of Defence of the Netherlands (Ret), and Chair of the International Military Council on Climate and Security, which the Center for Climate and Security co-facilitates, made a bold case for significant preventive and preparatory action on climate change. First, highlighting the threat, he noted:
So looking at this from a security perspective we can only conclude, that Climate Change:
- multiplies and exacerbates existing threats to security and has the potential to destabilize otherwise functioning countries;
- threatens critical infrastructure;
- Will set hundreds of millions of people on the march and might well become the primary cause of migration;
- Leads to more natural and humanitarian disasters;
- And will lead to new geopolitical tensions between superpowers, with the melting of the arctic and increasing resource shortages.
On the solutions side, he drew from the words of Georges Clemenceau to argue for a whole of society effort to address climate security risks. From the speech:
The former French statesman Georges Clemenceau once famously said, that ‘War is too important to be left to the generals’.
I would say we can’t leave climate change just to environment ministries. It is a whole of society problem requiring whole of society answers.
We need everybody to act, including the EU. To prevent climate change from worsening, to adapt to the already occurring impact of climate change and to improve response mechanisms for what is yet to come.
Read the full transcript at the Planetary Security Initiative website.