Climate Change and (Inter)National Security

NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security
October, 2013

Jan W. Dash, PhD
Climate Initiative Chair, Unitarian Universalist UN Office Climate Science Rapid Response Team Matchmaker Climate Statement Chair, UN NGO Committee on Sustainable Development

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Background Overview
  Risk

Management - climate action framing   Climate Science – need only one fact
◦  Recent Global Warming exists, is due to us
  Climate   Effect

Impacts – need only one fact

◦  Bad and will get much worse if we do not act

on National Security Campaign
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◦  Climate acts as “Threat Multiplier”
  Appendix: Disinformation

◦  Stranded Assets, Libertarians, “Tobacco”
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Climate Risk Management
  Best

framework to deal with climate risk is CLIMATE RISK MANAGEMENT   Risk depends on Loss and Probability
   

Tail risk: less probable but high loss If no action, today s tail climate risk will become tomorrow s average climate risk

◦  SCENARIOS are used for analysis
  Rational

response to risk - lower it!

◦  Mitigation to lower climate risk ◦  Adaptation when necessary
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Science: Earth is Heating Up. It’s due to us. It will get far worse

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Climate Impacts (IPCC 2007)

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Climate Impacts – short list
  We

see bad impacts now, faint rumbling of future worse impacts if we do not act
◦  Less FOOD – crops die at high temperatures ◦  Less WATER – glaciers, snow packs melting ◦  More DISEASE – insect vectors moving north ◦  More MIGRATION – from unlivable regions ◦  More INSTABILITIES – political, economic ◦  Stressed FINANCIAL – systems unstable ◦  Stressed WEATHER – extreme events ◦  The ARCTIC – new possibilities for conflict
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(Inter)National Security and Climate

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(Inter)National Security Risks from Climate Change / Global Warming
  Climate

impacts add to already existing international tensions
◦  Food, water disputes ◦  Migration across borders

  Countries

will become increasingly stressed dealing with climate impacts
◦  Unstable regions will become more unstable

  Existing

armed conflicts could get worse   New armed conflicts can arise
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US Military speaks on Climate and National Security Risk

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What does Military Say?
  Copenhagen

Climate Conference 2009

◦  Briefing - Pentagon, all branches of military ◦  SLR (Navy) scenarios: 3 – 6 feet by 2100 ◦  Rear Adm. David Titley
  National

Security 2010 White House doc Steve Anderson 2012

◦  “Climate” occurs on 17 of 60 pages
  Ret. Brig. General   CNA

◦  Clean Energy and National Security (Iraq)

Military Advisors - Generals (ret)
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Quadrennial Defense Review (2010)
  Climate

change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration.   While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.
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Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
  In

addition, extreme weather events may lead to increased demands for defense support to civil authorities for humanitarian assistance or disaster response both within the United States and overseas.   Second, DoD will need to adjust to the impacts of climate change on our facilities and military capabilities.
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CNA Military Advisor report
  “Projected

climate change poses a serious threat to America’s national security... The national security consequences of climate change should be fully integrated into national security and national defense strategies...”

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Food and Climate

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Food Insecurity and Climate
  Crops? Yields

will go Down (50% 2100)

◦  High temperature, Increased drought or precipitation, More insects => LESS FOOD
  Fish?

Availability will go Down will go Down

◦  Food chain: plankton; acidification: shellfish
  Animals? Availability   Add

◦  Drought stress (less water, forage)

Financial Speculation => prices up   Add Increasing Population (9B 2050)
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Water and Climate

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Fresh Water Insecurity and Climate
  Some

sources are disappearing

◦  Worldwide: almost all glaciers retreating ◦  Snow packs retreating (e.g. California) ◦  Drought – some lakes retreating
  Some   Add

sources become more unreliable

◦  Water runoff changing (rivers)

Speculation (cornering water rights)   Add Population Increase (9B 2050)
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Health Risk and Climate
  "Climate

change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century   Effects of climate change on health will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk."   Ref: "Managing the health effects of climate change" , Lancet, A. Costello et. al, 2009
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Health Risk and Climate
  Human

disease increase

◦  Mosquitoes etc. moving north, spread disease ◦  Weakened governments => more disease
  Health facilities weakened, over-stressed

  Crop/tree

disease increase and Climate

◦  Insects moving north: attack crops/trees
  Psychology

◦  Depression may get worse ◦  Irrationality due to disinformation
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Climate Migration / Refugees

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Migration due to Climate
  Some

regions will become unlivable

◦  Sea level rise for coastal regions ◦  Crop failures for whole regions
  People

will migrate if they have to

◦  Expect millions (hundreds of millions) 2100
  Where?

Livable regions already occupied   Recipe for conflict / regional wars, government instability, terrorism increase
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Arctic Ice Risk and Climate
  Arctic

ice disappearing at rapid rate

◦  New resource possibilities ◦  New shipping possibilities ◦  New Conflict possibilities

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Economics, Finance, and Climate

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Economic Insecurity and Climate
  Supplies

/ manufacturing stressed   Stranded Assets and Carbon Bubble   Future $budget up coping with climate   => World economic depression?   => Financial systems collapse?
  Stock / bond markets unstable anyway

  =>

Failed states regional wars

◦  Increased military expenditures ◦  Human rights disappear
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Extreme Weather and Climate

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Extreme temperatures Increasing (latest is purple curve, heating up)

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Extreme Weather and Climate
  Planet

heating up => more energy for bad / extreme weather events
◦  More droughts with agricultural impacts ◦  More heat waves, more intense fires ◦  Increased hurricane intensities (Katrina) ◦  Increased jet stream instabilities (Sandy)

  Will

increasingly stress governments / societies hit by extreme weather events

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Societal Instability Risk and Climate
  Vulnerability

varies widely (none immune) stability issues

◦  Resilience also varies widely
  Governmental

◦  Migration, unemployment, health stresses ◦  Increasing burden with climate disasters
  Manpower, money expenditures   Adaptation costs a lot – and will get much worse

◦  Adaption by our descendants if we do nothing will cost much more than mitigation costs to us now to alleviate climate risk
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Climate Ethics
  Climate

justice: Poor have the smallest effect on climate – hurt the worst
◦  U.S. will be hit very hard if no climate action ◦  More humane and cheaper for preventive action now rather than disaster adaptive action by our descendants in the future

  BUT

NO PLACE TO HIDE

  Intergenerational

ethics: Our descendants

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What can we do? Ex: International Climate Treaty

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Ex: Investors/Corporate action

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What We Can Do – Progress, need MORE. No Silver Bullet, need portfolio
  Action   Action

by individuals by organizations

◦  Energy saving, letters: editor / representative ◦  Corporations, Universities, Faith-based, NGOs ◦  Targeting Climate: CSRRT, CCL, CATs
  Action

at all levels of government Climate Treaty (2015/2020)
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◦  City, State, Regional, National
  International

Geo-engineering risk and Climate
  Some

risky Dr. Strangelove proposals

◦  Sun reflectors, worldwide smog aerosols ◦  Would affect countries differently ◦  Scenario: Country A envisions GE that would harm Country B => B invades A
  Exception

– carbon sequestration

◦  Plants, trees, maybe underground caverns ◦  Not yet available at necessary scales, $

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Appendix: Who is this guy?

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Climate Science Deniers / Contrarians / Faux Skeptics
 

We Have No Climate Risk 4 trenches:
1.  2.  3.  4.  Deny global warming Deny human influence on climate Minimize climate impact risk Exaggerate cost of climate action mitigation

  Oppose
   

climate action, renewable energy   Create doubt = tobacco tactic (Oreskes)
Science can’t prove so we shouldn’t act Cherry pick, propose flimsy arguments
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Stranded Carbon Assets = key

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Who Supports Contrarian Deniers?
  Fossil

Fuel Co. FFC – Exxon Mobile, Koch

◦  FFCs want to be able to burn all carbon ◦  Otherwise STRANDED ASSETS ◦  Would reduce FFC $wealth, $stock price
  Libertarians: Tea

Party, Koch, Faux News...

◦  Basically oppose government action ◦  But governments must act to mitigate climate ◦  So libertarians try to “kill the message”
  Answer

to riddle: C. Monckton
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Bottom Line
Climate: big problem, we can solve it
  Human

activities are causing recent global warming trend of climate change   Climate impacts bad, observed now, will become far worse if we do not act   (Inter)national security implications exist   Climate links to many other issues   We are arrayed against powerful opponents
  NOT

too late to prevent worst impacts

 You

can help
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Thank You

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Reference: climate.uu-uno.org

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