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Report from Down Under: “Climate change now represents a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilisation”

Australia_Weather-map-WA-28FEB06Australia’s National Centre for Climate Restoration, also known as Breakthrough, released a sobering report late last month titled “Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario approach.” The policy paper, authored by David Spratt & Ian Dunlop, with a foreword by Admiral Chris Barrie, AC RAN (Retired), former Chief of the Australian Defence Force, explores a climate scenario thirty years in the future – a method of risk anticipation often utilized by militaries. The scenario exercise led to a striking conclusion:

Climate change now represents a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilisation.

(more…)

Home Front: New Australian Documentary on Climate and Security

Royal Australian Navy Base_Sydney Harbour_Home Front_2019

A still from Part One of “Home Front” (at 04:55), Breakthrough, the National Centre for Climate Restoration 2019

Breakthrough, an independent Australian think tank, today released Part One of its new climate and security documentary, Home Front. In it, interviewees from the military, business and humanitarian communities describe the myriad security threats driven by a changing climate, ranging from political instability and economic collapse, to sea level rise risks to Australia’s numerous military installations along its significant coastline. (more…)

The Strategist: Combating climate change in the Asia–Pacific: lessons from the Marshall Plan

USAsiaPacifcRebalanceImageIn light of President Obama’s visit to Asia this week, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s The Strategist published an article yesterday by the Center for Climate and Security’s Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia titled “Combatting climate change in the Asia–Pacific: lessons from the Marshall Plan.” It is a shorter version of a piece published in our “U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change” report, which includes a foreword by former Commander of U.S. Pacific Command,  Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, USN (ret).

Australian Defence White Paper on Climate Security Risks

800px-US_Navy_Australian_100720-N-4044H-477_An_Australian_Royal_Navy_Sailor_throws_a_line_to_Sailors_aboard_the_Australian_Royal_Navy_amphibious_ship_(HMAS)_Labuan_(L128)

Australian Royal Navy (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eddie Harrison/Released)

The Australian Department of Defence just released its 2016 Defence White Paper, a strategic document detailing its priorities. The White Paper notes that: “…the Government is investing in Australia’s defence capabilities to strengthen Australia’s security in the more complex strategic environment Australia will face in the years ahead.” According to the White Paper, one factor contributing to this “more complex strategic environment” is climate change. Below are the passages within the document pertaining specifically to climate change. Not included below are the numerous passages related to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, but it is worth noting that these are important capabilities for addressing climate impacts, enhancing international engagement and managing strategic risks. The 2009 and 2013 Defence White Papers also included sections on climate change and resource scarcity. (more…)

Australian Defence Force: Aligning Climate Security Strategy with US & UK

Australian peacekeepers unload engineering equipment. Photo by, Australian Civil-Military Centre

Australian peacekeepers unload engineering equipment. Photo by, Australian Civil-Military Centre

The Australian Climate Council recently released a report: “Be Prepared: Climate Change, Security and Australia’s Defence Force.” The report provides a good overview of climate change risks to national security and adds a critical look at how the Australian Defence Force is (and is not) preparing for those risks, and how this compares to US and UK defense forces. The report draws from an international team of reviewers including CCS advisory board member Rear Admiral Dave Titley USN (Ret), as well as Professor Jon Barnett, Professor Alan Dupont, Captain Leo Goff, USN (ret.), Dr. Liz Hanna, and Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti RN (ret.). (more…)

Australian Climate Security: The Longest Conflict

Australian Military personnel help Tsunami victims, Banda Aceh, Sumatra. Photo by Benjamin D. Glass

Australian Military personnel help Tsunami victims, Banda Aceh, Sumatra. Photo by Benjamin D. Glass

Australia’s Centre For Policy Development (CPD) just released a new report, The Longest Conflict: Australia’s Climate Security Challenge. The report draws lessons from climate security policies in the US and the UK and from interviews with national security and military leaders and existing analysis. UK Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti was at the report launch event and was interviewed by the Australian ABC News. As the United States pivots to Asia, aligning with Australia to prepare for and mitigate climate risks could be an important piece to that strategy. According the report’s authors, while Australia has acknowledged the security risks associated with climate, it could do more. (more…)

Climate Security on the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultation Table

Members_of_the_Papua_New_Guinea_Defense_Force_prepare_to_embark_aboard_the_Royal_Australian_Navy_landing_ship_heavy_HMAS_Tobruk_(L50)The annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), the “principal forum for bilateral consultations between Australian and the United States,” took place this week in Sydney, and discussion of the security implications of climate change was on the agenda. The consultations included the Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence, the US Secretaries of State and Defense, and other senior officials from the countries’ respective diplomatic and defense establishments. According to the Australian government’s website, “The Consultations provide a major opportunity to discuss and share perspectives and approaches on major global and regional political issues, and to deepen bilateral foreign security and defence cooperation.” In this context, discussion of climate -security is important. (more…)