Institute for Environmental Security

Advancing Global Environmental Security through
Science · Diplomacy · Law · Finance · Education



Rationale / Problem Analysis

The negative impacts of climate change are occurring much more rapidly than anticipated by the IPCC in 2007. This fact has been evidenced by the accelerated melting of the Arctic sea ice, the ice on Greenland and Antarctica, and the Himalayan and Andean glaciers. There is a growing awareness that climate change is not a 'linear' progression, but rather may manifest itself by abrupt and irreversible 'tipping points', such as the loss of glacial melt summer water in the great rivers of Asia. Furthermore, the military are increasingly aware that climate change could produce massive security challenges within their current planning time-scale.

The need for an international agreement based on a shared vision, shared goals, financial commitments and mechanisms to implement the necessary measures is greater than ever. The medium and long term costs of not taking adequate measures now outweighs the costs of these measures as illustrated in the Stern Report. Abrupt Climate Change, the financial crisis, the G20 reforms to global governance, coupled with the existing food and energy security crises, demand new ways of thinking from politicians and decision makers around the globe.

Military thinking can make a major contribution to these challenges. Including military and security perspectives in the calculation of the economic costs of addressing climate provides a further strong argument for taking immediate action. While the challenge of climate change is global, national security concerns and perspectives are 'local' and differ widely among nations.

With that in mind the CCTM project will be based on the latest scientific insights and long-standing military experience with, inter alia, international conflict prevention, peace missions and relief operations after natural disasters. More ambitiously, the explicit integration of foreign and security policy goals related to sustainable development, human rights and fragile states can make a valuable contribution to a united global response to climate change.

Expected Impacts

  • Raise the issue of climate change and security higher on the agenda of international policy makers, environmental decision makers and military strategists world wide;
  • Establish a continuing network of committed military officers (both retired and, when permitted, active duty) from around the world to promote an integrated approach to security and climate change;
  • Highlight the potential geopolitical and military consequences of climate change and the costs of these consequences; and
  • Foster increased interest in the role the military can play in humanity's effort to surmount abrupt climate change.
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