What you will find on this page: LATEST NEWS; climate changes and (US) security issues; REPORT: Conflict vs Climate; cost of sanctioned violence (video); trends in military spending; climate change as a stressorsecurity & national interests (video); REPORT: Combat vs Climatesanctioned violence; battle for resources

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Climate change and national security issues

US/DNI Releases Report on Implications of Climate Change on National Security

DNI Releases Report on Implications of Climate Change on National Security19 September 2016, American Security Project: The National Intelligence Council, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has just released a new White Paper titled “Implications for U.S. national security of Anticipated Climate Change.” The report analyzes the potential effects of climate change on national security in the coming 20 years. The report uses previous IPCC reports as a scientific baseline for analysis. The report begins with a strong assertion of the dangers of climate change for societies, economies, and governments across the world: t goes on to list some of the pathways to “wide-ranging national security challenges for the United States and other countries,” including “threats to the stability of countries, adverse effects on food prices and availability, and negative impacts on investments and economic competitiveness.” The report gives possible time-frames for these emerging national security challenges, suggesting that based on “changing trends in extreme weather,” the future will almost certainly hold more “climate related disruptions.” The majority of climate change-related risks to U.S. national security in the next five years will come from “distinct extreme weather events”, and “the exacerbation of currently strained conditions,” including water shortages. The report comes after years of significant research inside and outside of the government on climate security. The National Intelligence Council last released a report on this issue in 2009. Many in the security community have spoken on the emerging national security risks posed by climate change. ASP and countless other organizations have urged policy makers not to underestimate the security challenges posed by climate change and the rising seas. Read More here and access full report here


10 November 2015, Yale Connections: Drought, water, war, and climate change” is the title of this month’s Yale Climate Connections video (above) exploring expert assessments of the interconnections between and among those issues. With historic 1988 BBC television footage featuring Princeton University scientist Syukuru (“Suki”) Manabe and recent news clips and interviews with MIT scientist Kerry Emanuel, Ohio State University scientist Lonnie Thompson, CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour, and New York Times columnist and book author Tom Friedman, the six-minute video plumbs the depths of growing climate change concerns among national security experts. Source: Yale Connections



© MCT 2014

© MCT 2014

Since man first became aware of his neighbours “resources” war or more precisely “sanctioned violence” has been the mechanism for obtaining from others what you believe should be rightly yours. The battle for resources is not new and continues unabated in our supposed “civilised” world of today. With all the misery, lost lives, displaced peoples, wasted resources that war produces climate change has now added to this already complex mess. And as pressure builds to keep fossil fuels in the ground the battles to access and use them more apparently goes on. A bit like Golum and his “precious”…..What on earth are they thinking!

There are many direct and indirect ramifications of war – all of which distract/undermine the capacity of the global community to respond in a concerted and positive way to the pandora’s box of climate change. Source: Center for Naval Analysis

The cost of sanctioned violence

Environmental Costs: The impact of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan can be seen not only in the social, economic and political situations of these areas but also in the environments in which these wars have been waged. The long years of war have resulted in a radical destruction of forest cover and an increase in carbon emissions. In addition, the water supply has been contaminated by oil from military vehicles and depleted uranium from ammunition. Along with the degradation of the natural resources in these countries, the animal and bird populations have also been adversely affected. Read More here

And what has this to do with climate change? It is adding to the problem.

Human Costs: UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, which is based on data compiled by governments, non­ governmental partner organizations, and from the organization’s own records, shows 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013, fully six million more than the 45.2 million reported in 2012. “We are seeing here the immense costs of not ending wars, of failing to resolve or prevent conflict,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. “Peace is today dangerously in deficit. Humanitarians can help as a palliative, but political solutions are vitally needed. Without this, the alarming levels of conflict and the mass suffering that is reflected in these figures will continue.” Read More here.  Access Global Emergency Overview here.

Civilians Killed and Wounded:The ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have taken a tremendous toll on the people of those countries. At the very least, 174,000 civilians have been determined to have died violent deaths as a result of the war as of April 2014. The actual number of deaths, direct and indirect, as a result of the wars are many times higher than this figure.

And what has this to do with climate change? It is often stated that the “vulnerable” are the ones that will suffer the most in facing the impacts of climate change as they have not the resources or resilience to adapt or “bounce back”. The futility of war has literally placed over 50 million people, to date, into this vulnerable category and have denied them the opportunity to be part of the solution. A loss that the rest of the world must cover. 

Economic Costs: A quote from James Madison, Political Observations, 1795: “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” Nothing much has changed in 200+ years has it? 

Trends in World Military Expenditure 2014

military expenditure 2014Total world military expenditure in 2014 was $1776 billion. This is equivalent to 2.3 per cent of global GDP. According to the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, Australia is ranked at number 13 as the biggest spender for 2014.Total Australia spending AUD29.3 billion ($b.,MER) 25.4. Share of GDP 1.8%. Share of world military expenditure 1.4%


Source: From 13 April 2015 the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database includes newly released information on military expenditure in 2014. This Fact Sheet describes the global, regional and national trends in military expenditure that are revealed by the new data.


Look at the following map of the 15 leaders in military expenditure – and what questions come to your mind? Access map for further details here

military expenditure world map 2014



Trends in World Military Expenditure 2014

And what has this to do with climate change? It goes with out saying that responding to climate change and transforming the energy and economic systems of the world in a carbon restricted world would be made a lot easier on everyone if military budgets were focused on what could help the world rather than plunder it. 

A sign of things to come? Climate change impacts becoming a “stressor” in conflicts

Did Drought Trigger The Crisis In Syria? What caused the conflict in Syria to erupt when it did, pushing citizens from discontent with the regime to outright rebellion? One possibility is that environmental factors, particularly a long-lasting drought, helped ignite the crisis. Drought affected north-eastern Syria (as well as adjacent regions in Turkey and Iraq) from 2006 to 2011 and resulted in widespread food insecurity, malnutrition, internal displacement from agricultural areas, and the creation of shanty towns on the edges of cities. Read More here

 National/global security issues and  climate change

If the deniers want us to believe that climate change is a fabrication and it isn’t a problem then they forgot to convince those “looking after” the security interests of governments. Following are a number of reports that indicate that they are treating climate change as a high profile security issue.

Report: Combat Vs. Climate

From the Center for Naval Analysis. In the videos below, CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board (MAB) members discuss the new report, National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change. In the first video, Brigadier General Gerald Galloway details how climate change impacts American national security and military readiness, affecting the lives of thousands of military personnel and American civilians around the U.S. In the second video, Admiral Frank “Skip” Bowman emphasizes how climate change is already impacting our national security and international military dynamics. 

The work of the MAB has been important in advancing the understanding that energy choices are not future threats—they are taking place now—and that actions to build resilience against the projected impacts of climate change are required today.

US: National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change (2014): As a follow-up to its landmark 2007 study on climate and national security, the CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board’s National Security and the Accelerating Risks of  Climate Change re-examines the impact of climate change on U.S. national security in the context of a more informed, but more complex and integrated world. The Board’s 2007 report described projected climate change as a “threat multiplier.” In this report the 16 retired Generals and Admirals who make up the board look at new vulnerabilities and tensions posed by climate change, which, when set against the backdrop of increasingly decentralized power structures around the world, they now identify as a “catalyst for conflict.”

US 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review: A rather chilling document (a quote: ” The rapidly accelerating spread of information is challenging the ability of some governments to control their populations and maintain civil order.”) Note risk of climate change exec summary and pages 8 & 25. The impacts of climate change may increase the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions, including defense support to civil authorities, while at the same time undermining the capacity of our domestic installations to support training activities… Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large…. Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.….The Department’s operational readiness hinges on unimpeded access to land, air, and sea training and test space. Consequently, we will complete a comprehensive assessment of all installations to assess the potential impacts of climate change on our missions and operational resiliency, and develop and implement plans to adapt as required. Climate change also creates both a need and an opportunity for nations to work together, which the Department will seize through a range of initiatives. We are developing new policies, strategies, and plans, including the Department’s Arctic Strategy and our work in building humanitarian assistance and disaster response capabilities, both within the Department and with our allies and partners. 

War – Sanctioned Violence/ protecting national security interest

21 May 2015, Tomgram, The Navy’s Great Alaskan “War”: It isn’t the best of times for the American Arctic and let me explain why. The world is in the midst of an oil glut.  In the last year, oil prices bottomed out before rising modestly.  A NASA study just offered the news that a massive ice shelf in Antarctica, half the size of Rhode Island, will disintegrate by 2020, and not so long ago Science magazine reported that the melting of that region’s ice sheets is proceeding far faster than expected.  SayonaraMiami Beach!  All of this, of course, is happening thanks to the burning of fossil fuels.  In March, the Obama administration responded to such a world by preparing the way for a rather familiar future.  It lifted a ban on drilling for oil and gas off the U.S. southern Atlantic coast, opening those waters and their untapped four billion barrels of oil and 37 trillion cubic feet of gas to future drilling…. The U.S. Navy is arriving in the Gulf of Alaska big time — and we’re not talking about the cavalry riding to the rescue here.  In waters that are starting to seem like Grand Central Station, that service is planning to launch massive war games with a new set of potentially deleterious effects on those seas and what lives in them.  But let Jamail explain. Read More here
8 July 2014, TomDispatch, Tomgram: Fighting for Oil: Call it a double whammy for the planet or simply irony with a capital “I.” As the invaluable Michael Klare, TomDispatch regular and author of The Race for What’s Left, points out today, if you scan the planet for conflict, what you’ll find from Syria and Iraq to the South China Sea are a series of energy wars — fossil-fuel conflicts to be exact.  At present, despite some hopeful signs, this crazed planet of ours is still a ravenous beast that only fossil fuels can sate. Read more here
18 May 2015, Common Dreams: Why Are We in the Middle East? (Even though this is from an American perspective – it is just as relevant for Australia as we all know when the US says jump – the response? How high sir?)”] To placate their pique at his effort to get a non-proliferation agreement with Iran, Barack Obama met last Thursday at Camp David with Saudi royals and leaders of the other five feudal dictatorships of the Persian Gulf. He reaffirmed the United States “ironclad” commitment to their security and promised even more military aid and cooperation. After the personal dust-up between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu settles, we can expect the Administration and Congress to add even more steel to our commitment to protect and subsidize Israel by adding more to its already vast store of sophisticated weapons.

Thus, we take another step deeper into the tragedy of U.S. intervention in the Middle East that has become a noxious farce. Consider just one of the head-spinning subplots: We are allied with our declared enemy, Iran, against the bloody Islamic State, which was spawned from the chaos created by our own earlier decisions to invade Iraq and to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, which has us fighting side-by-side with jihadist crazies financed by Saudi Arabia, whom we are supporting against the Houthis in Yemen, the bitter rivals of Al Qaeda — the perpetrators of 9/11! Read More here

NOTE: For those readers that have got this far, if you wish to explore further the dysfunction of our world you may need to include the vast implications of organised crime and corporate and political corruption and the implications for climate change response as well.