Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Climate Security: Impacts and Opportunities for Transatlantic Relations

Climate Security: Impacts and Opportunities for Transatlantic Relations

Ratings: (0)|Views: 29|Likes:
This policy brief argues that given the lack of progress in the international climate negotiations, foreign-policy and defense sectors on both sides of the Atlantic should develop a contingency plan based on closer military and foreign-policy collaboration.
This policy brief argues that given the lack of progress in the international climate negotiations, foreign-policy and defense sectors on both sides of the Atlantic should develop a contingency plan based on closer military and foreign-policy collaboration.

More info:

Categories:Types, Research
Published by: German Marshall Fund of the United States on Nov 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Climate change isone of the most serious political,diplomatic, and social challengesfacing the transatlantic community.Given the lack of progress in theinternational climate negotiations,foreign-policy and defense sectorson both sides of the Atlantic shoulddevelop a contingency plan basedon closer military and foreign-policycollaboration. Early coordination on the political and military fronts toaddress the security implications of climate change will enable a more
exible response in both sectors.
The transatlantic partners should1) assess the security implicationsof climate change in areas of joint
strategic interest; 2) dene oppor
- tunities for cooperation in noveloperating environments, researchand development, horizon scanning,and sharing of bases; 3) consideroperating as a strategic hub forinternational dialogue on climatechange’s potential security implica- tions; 4) build closer civil-militaryrelationships in particularly at-riskparts of the globe to strengthenregional resilience and enhanceearly-warning capabilities; and 5)develop joint structures to facilitatea continual assessment of the risksclimate change could pose to areasof common interests.
Climate and Energy Program
Policy Brie 
Earlier this year, U.K. Foreign Secre-tary William Hague argued thatclimate change is perhaps the 21stcentury’s biggest oreign policy chal-lenge along with such challengesas preventing the spread o nuclearweapons.”
With implications orpolitical, economic, and social stability,both domestically and in areas o  joint strategic concern abroad, climatechange is already exerting a “slowbut irresistible inuence on humanbehavior and societies.
It is thereoreessential that the transatlantic partner-ship is maintained and developed inpreparation or the geopolitical shisthat are likely to occur as a result o climate change.Te United States and Europe continueto value the transatlantic alliance.U.S. Secretary o State Hillary Clintonrecently declared that the United States“needs strong and active Europeanpartners more than ever.”
U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Ofce, 2010. “The
diplomacy of climate change,” speech delivered byForeign Secretary William Hague at the Council of ForeignRelations, New York, 27 September, http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=22933444,
accessed 28 September 2010.
U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Ofce, 2010. Preparing for Global Climate Change: An Adaptation Plan for the
FCO, p. 1.
U.S. Department of State, 2010. Secretary Clinton’sParis speech on European security, http://fpc.state.gov/136344.htm, 1 February, accessed 20 September2010.
Climate Security: Impacts andOpportunities for Transatlantic Relations
by Dr. Tobias Feakin and Duncan Depledge
1744 R Street NWWashington, DC 200091 202 683 2650F 1 202 265 1662E ino@gmus.org
November 2010
in kind, the U.K. Minister or Deence,Liam Fox, stated that “NAO willremain our rst instrument o choiceor responding to the collective secu-rity challenges we ace.
Te Westcontinues to share vital strategic andeconomic interests, a large stake inthe smooth running o liberal globalinstitutions, and common oreign-policy challenges that simply cannot beaddressed adequately without coop-eration (the most prominent beinginternational terrorism).However, since the collapse o theSoviet Union, members o the trans-atlantic alliance have questionedwhat its uture holds in a new globalera characterized by climate change,transnational threats, the growingassertiveness o newly emerging states(including China, India, and Brazil),and the increasing prevalence o nonstate actors on the global stage. In2009, U.S. President Barack Obamadescribed transatlantic relations asbeing at a “crossroads” in a world thathas become smaller and more inter-connected than at any time in history.
U.K. Ministry of Defence, 2010. “Strategic Defence and
Security Review,” speech delivered by Secretary of Statefor Defence at the Royal United Services Institute, London,14 June, http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDe-
fence/People/Speeches/SofS/20100614StrategicDefenceAndSecurityReview.htm, accessed 20 September 2010.
White House, 2009. Remarks by President Obama at
Climate and Energy Program
Policy Brie 
2that characterize transatlantic relations have indeed shied,it is not necessarily to the detriment o the alliance.
Cooperation in a Changing Climate
Te security implications o climate change are most likely to be elt in areas o joint strategic concern overseas as they interact with pre-existing security dynamics. Te MiddleEast, sub-Saharan Arica, and South Asia are amongthe most vulnerable to climate change. Consequently,promoting shared interests, managing common threats, andexpanding the policy options or doing so in the comingdecades demands not only continued cooperation but also abroader and more comprehensive transatlantic partnershipthan in the past. Te ailure o the international commu-nity to strike a comprehensive deal to address climatechange through key international policy orums includingthe United Nations Framework Convention on ClimateChange, G8, G20, and the Major Economies Forum meansthat the West cannot rely on the development o a globalramework through which to pursue its strategic goals.While the pursuit o a globally coordinated response shouldin no way be abandoned, a contingency plan is required.In doing so, it is vital that the transatlantic community develop and share knowledge about the implications o climate change or oreign policy and deense. Much o thegroundwork or such a partnership has already been laid,as is evidenced by the large number o intelligence reviews,strategy papers, policy bries, and academic papers thathave come out o both the United States and Europe overthe last 20 years citing the implications o climate change asa pervasive challenge to national and international secu-rity.
However, more is needed to prevent the duplicationo eorts, address knowledge gaps, and orge a commonstrategy to address the challenges that climate change poses.
Assessing the Current State of Knowledge
Te implications o climate change or deense and oreignpolicy are complex. Tey are expected to aect a plethora o issues concerning choices about mitigation and adaptationstrategies, energy security, nuclear prolieration, migration,social justice and accountability, shiing territorial bound-
The US National Intelligence Council have published a range of regional impact reports,
which can be accessed at http://www.dni.gov/nic/special_climate2030.html
We are thereore orced to consider whether the transat-lantic relationship will still be central to the management o global security in this new era.
Transatlantic Relations in Crisis?
A number o recent media articles have suggested thatthe transatlantic alliance is in crisis.
While such hyper-bole overstates the extent o any ri between the Atlanticallies, the events behind recent proclamations cannot beignored. America’s international ocus has indeed shiedeast towards the Pacic as the United States reconguresits oreign policy to strengthen its strategic and economicposition in relation to, and in recognition o, the growingimportance o emerging powers in Asia. Europe is conse-quently becoming less central to the U.S. world view.
 At the same time, the recent entry into orce o the Lisbonreaty has signaled an opportunity or EU member statesto ease their traditional post-war reliance on America orsecurity and economic prosperity as the EU steadily movestowards becoming a proactive security actor in its ownright. It is perhaps this shi in the orm o EU “actorness”that has posed one o the biggest challenges to transatlanticrelations. In ratiying the Lisbon reaty, the EU has raisedU.S. expectations o what the EU can achieve as a secu-rity actor — in essence, expecting EU member states toshoulder a larger share o the burden o maintaining inter-national security. Unortunately, this has been interpretedin some European quarters as meaning that EU resourcesshould serve American strategic interests, and it is perhapsthis tension that is inorming those who see a crisis in trans-atlantic relations.
However, although the strategic interests
Strasbourg Town Hall, 3 April, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_ofce/Remarks-by-President-Obama-at-Strasbourg-Town-Hall, accessed 20 September 2010.
Jones, B, 2010. “The coming clash? Europe and U.S. multilateralism under Obama,”Brookings Institution, http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2010/06_europe_us_jones.aspx, accessed 20 September 2010.
Peters, K, 2010. Why Obama is ignoring Europe,
Spiegel Online
, 2 September, http://
www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,676799,00.html, accessed 20 September2010.
Ackerman, B, 2008. The coming transatlantic crisis,
, 2 September,
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/02/usforeignpolicy.eu, accessed20 September 2010.
Institute for Public Policy Research, 2009.
Shared Responsibilities: A National Security Strategy for the UK 
, the nal report of the IPPR Commission on National Security in the
21st Century, p. 31.
Biscop, S, 2010. Of Greeks and Romans: The EU, US and security strategy in a multi
-polar world,
, http://www.fride.org/publication/735/of-greeks-and-romans:-the-eu,-
us-and-security-strategy-in-a-multipolar-world, accessed 20 September 2010.
Climate and Energy Program
Policy Brie 
3aries, sovereignty claims, government legitimacy, localresilience, and ungovernable spaces where nonstate actorscan operate with impunity. It is because climate change caninteract with all these dierent issues that climate change isoen described as a “threat multiplier,” with the potential toalter geostrategic balances and exacerbate political, social,and economic and tensions around the world, at all levelsrom the local to the international.
As climate change is likely to inuence precipitationpatterns, extreme weather events, local temperatures, icecover, and sea levels, the broad consensus among scien-tists is that we will see reductions in land habitability andproductivity, water scarcity, inundation, environmentaldegradation, increased health problems, populationdisplacement, and signicant damage to energy, trans-port, and communications inrastructure. Tese impactscan intertwine with existing political, social, cultural, and
Center for Naval Analyses, 2007. National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,http://securityandclimate.cna.org/, accessed 20 September 2010, p. 3.
economic trends and could potentially trigger resourcescarcity, humanitarian crises, the overstretching o tradi-tional government and governance structures, land-useconicts, and migration, particularly in those areas with theleast capacity to adapt.At the same time, new opportunities to exploit valuablenatural resources are emerging in the Arctic and elsewhere,urther contributing to the redrawing o geopolitical maps,and potentially uelling disputes over territory, access toresources and governance. As temperatures continue torise, tempers could are unless anticipated and careully managed through common endeavor. Te consequenceshave the potential to impair progress towards the Millen-nium Development Goals, disrupt the global economicsystem, and, in a worst-case scenario, trigger state ailure inalready ragile regions. Ultimately, the impacts o climatechange threaten to undermine the global economic andpolitical stability on which states on both sides o theAtlantic depend or continuing security and prosperity.
Managing Change (and Perceptions)
It is difcult to predict precisely the implications o thesedestabilizing pressures or the timerames within which themight occur, as they might be moderated by eorts to adaptto or mitigate the worst physical impacts o climate changeor, conversely, accelerated by so-called tipping points inthe climate system. Realistically, over the next 20 years,perceptions and representations o the dangers o climatechange are perhaps likely to be more signicant than any catastrophic changes to the physical environment. Te U.S.National Intelligence Committee and the Pentagon haveboth warned about the potential or zero-sum perceptionso a rapidly changing environment to encourage states totake unilateral actions to secure resources, territory, andother strategic interests.
Te challenge o climate changeto the transatlantic community is thereore as much polit-ical, economic, and social as it is physical.Concurrent to climatic changes, the world in comingdecades will continue to experience rapid populationgrowth, urther globalization, greater global inequality,greater interdependence among state and nonstate actors,
U.S. National Intelligence Council, 2008, “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World.”
U.S. Department of Defense, 2010, “The Quadrennial Defense Review Report.”
Climate change is expected to
affect a plethora of issues suchas mitigation and adaptationstrategies, energy security, nuclearproliferation, migration, social justice and accountability, shifting  territorial boundaries, sovereigntyclaims, government legitimacy,local resilience, and ungovernablespaces where nonstate actors canoperate with impunity.

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->