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Bushfire Crisis Shows Australia Needs a Strategic Response to Climate Change

By Michael Thomas, Senior Fellow, Asia-Pacific

This article was first published in The Strategist on Jan 14, 2020

In the 1993 cult classic Groundhog Day, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) posed the question: ‘What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same and nothing you did mattered?’ Depressingly, it must surely sum up the collective outlook of the world’s climate scientists for at least the past two decades. That frustration has been compounded lately by the ‘mixed bag’ of last month’s UN climate talks in Madrid, the continued assault on the scientific method by the administration of US President Donald Trump, and rolling climate-related global environmental catastrophes. (more…)

New Zealand Defence Plan Includes Entire Chapter on the Climate Crisis

New_Zealand Defence Force Staff Sergeant_ANZAC_Day_Ceremony_in_Port_Vila,_Vanuatu_1104

A New Zealand Defence Force staff sergeant stands at attention after laying a wreath in the water in honor of ANZAC Day during Pacific Partnership 2011 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Russell/Released)

In what is one of the most robust treatments of climate change in any current defense plan, the New Zealand Ministry of Defence’s Defense Capability Plan 2019, released on June 11, includes an entire chapter devoted to addressing climate change. The Plan, according to the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) website, “sets out the Government’s indicative planned investments in the New Zealand Defence Force” and “covers all capability investments out to 2030, and signals investments following 2030 that will be assessed through the next Defence White Paper in 2022.”

Chapter Five, titled “Responding to the Climate Crisis,” can be found on page 17, and refers back to last year’s “Climate Crisis: Defense Readiness and Responsibilities”  assessment from the New Zealand Ministry of Defence, which indicated a major increase in attention to the security risks of climate change from the Kiwi military. (more…)