The Climate Security Consensus Project, a bipartisan group of 26 national security and military leaders, released a statement in September 2016 declaring that: “the effects of climate change present a strategically-significant risk to U.S. national security” and urging a “comprehensive policy” in response.
This group includes Dr. Geoffrey Kemp, former Special Assistant to President Reagan for National Security Affairs, Dov S. Zakheim, Former Under Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush, retired Army General Gordon R. Sullivan, Former Army Chief of Staff, retired Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, former Commander of US Pacific Command, and retired General Ron Keys, Former Commander of Air Combat Command, among many others. From two of the consensus signatories:
“National security leaders always have to account for risk. As long as there is a risk of climate change, we must account for its potential implications for our military capabilities and respond accordingly.” – Hon. Dov Zakheim, Former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) under President George W. Bush
“Our military and intelligence leadership have recognized under both the George W Bush and the Obama Administrations, that climate change will present real and costly risks to our national security and that the effects are going to get worse if we don’t do something about it very soon. As General Douglas MacArthur warned about the dangers of unpreparedness for war, we don’t want to be too late.” – Geoffrey Kemp, Senior Director for Regional Security, Center for the National lnterest, former Special Assistant to President Reagan for Nat’l Security Affairs
At the heart of the statement is a concern about risks to regions of the world of strategic significance to the United States – risks that can contribute to political and financial instability on an international scale, as well as maritime insecurity. Two key determinations from the consensus group include:
- Stresses resulting from climate change can increase the likelihood of intra or international conflict, state failure, mass migration, and the creation of additional ungoverned spaces, across a range of strategically-significant regions, including but not limited to the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, the Indo-Asia-Pacific, and the Arctic regions;
- The impacts of climate change will place significant strains on international financial
stability through contributing to supply line disruptions for major global industries in the manufacturing, energy, agriculture and water sectors, disrupting the viability of the insurance industry, and generally increasing the political and financial risks of doing business in an increasingly unstable global environment.
Click here for the full statement, including signatories.
Release event below with Admiral Samuel Locklear, III, USN (ret); General Ronald Keys, USAF (ret); Hon. Dov Zakheim; Dr. Geoffrey Kemp; Hon. Sherri Goodman and Caitlin Werrell: