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A Marshall Plan to Combat Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific: The Missing Piece of the New U.S. Security Strategy
For the first time since the days of William Howard Taft, the United States is officially reorienting its security and defense strategy to the Asia-Pacific region, closing down military bases in Europe, redeploying soldiers to bases in Australia, and placing the region front and center in its strategic documents. As stated in the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance note, “while the U.S. military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity re-balance toward the Asia-Pacific region.” But if this shift is to translate into leadership, the United States needs a complementary investment agenda for building the region’s resilience to key emerging threats – including climate change. (more…)
In its most recent Quadrennial Defense Review, the U.S. Department of Defense officially recognized climate change as a security threat. But policy-makers are not treating it like one. As we outlined in our piece in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the U.S. commits considerable resources to combating other security threats, like terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and these funds are certainly subject to trimming from time to time. However, they are never in danger of being virtually eliminated – as the U.S. Congress seems to be threatening now with climate finance – moneys that are essential for mitigating the risks of climate change, and incentivizing action in the developing world to do the same.
See Juliet Eilperin’s article for more on the situation in the U.S. Congress.
Our piece in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, written with Christine Parthemore of the Center for a New American Security, addresses the discrepancy between U.S. financial and political capital spent on combating three security risks (WMDs, terrorism and economic crisis) and the financial and political capital spent on combating the security risk of climate change. It makes the point that the U.S. national security establishment has recognized the threat of climate change as comparable to other security risks, but U.S. policy-makers have not responded accordingly. See the full article here, and cross-posted below: