Senior US military and national security experts demand “robust” strategy to tackle climate change, labelling it a major threat to US and international security

A bipartisan group of 25 senior military leaders and national security experts have described climate change as a “significant risk” to national security and issued a joint call for a “comprehensive policy” response.

The group, which includes the former security advisers to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, said in a letter published yesterday that it is critical the US address climate change at a scale appropriate to the risk it presents. They called for a “robust agenda” to prevent and prepare for climate change risks – and warned a failure to do so would amplify risks to national security.

“There are few easy answers, but one thing is clear: the current trajectory of climatic change presents a strategically-significant risk to US national security, and inaction is not a viable option,” the letter states.

In particular, the experts highlighted the destabilising effect water and food shortages are likely to have on society, as well as the increased likelihood of international conflict as extreme weather and resource shortages spark mass migration or state failure.

“We’re going to have more intense, more frequent and more dramatic events caused by weather on large populations, large geographic areas than we’ve had in the past,” said former US Army General Charles Jacoby. “Because we define our interests globally, we have to take these things into account. Many conflicts throughout our history have been based on resource competition. Increasingly in the future we’ll be defining some of our national security interests in those resource contests.”

The letter’s publication coincides with two new reports, one focused on the US military’s potential response to climate change and the other designed to brief a new administration on the climate risks facing the US government.

The warnings come ahead of a meeting of political leaders at the UN to discuss the migrant crisis affecting large swathes of the Middle East and Europe. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has described climate change and migration as a “key risk”, with a changing climate having “significant consequences” for migration flows at particular times and places, creating both risks and benefits for migrants and states.

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Source: Climate Change

Original article: Military leaders call for urgent action on climate

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