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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:
If resiliency had a mascot it would probably be the camel. These even-toed ungulates are able to go long periods of time without water, can withstand wide temperature ranges and are generally drought-tolerant. A camel might typically be considered the perfect companion for a climate-uncertain world. For this reason, the camel has acted as a critical lifeline for many Somalis during the dry seasons. Perhaps this is what is most disturbing about the death of more than 50% of Somalia’s camels as a result of the recent drought. As posed by Sophia Jones in a Foreign Policy piece today, “If camels can’t survive, what can?”