Climate Change and National Security

That part of the present problem in Sudan was caused by decades-long environmental degradation is highlighted in this UN report. One of its observations is that regional climate change, especially in the Darfur region, has made a significant negative impact. But one should not think that only third world countries and their national security would be adversely affected by climate change. A recently released reportNational Intelligence Assessment on the National Security Implications of Global Climate Change to 2030– states that while climate change may not cause the collapse of any state through 2030, the social and economic disruptions caused by climate change could very well destabilize large parts of the world. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the United States to be a  pro-active participant on the international level as the world deals with mass migrations, depleted water supplies, deforestation, massive storms, and interruptions in trade while trying to mobilize humanitarian aid. Of course, none of this is really new. For a review of global warming, look at this hypertext history. One the names that repeatedly comes up in the literature is that of Roger Revelle, generally considered to be one of the first scientists to investigate global warming, starting in the 1950s. Besides all his other accomplishments, one needs to know that one of his students was Al Gore, who as early as the 1980s was holding Congressional hearings on global warming. You will see the acronym IPCC a lot. That stands for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with Mr Gore. Its reports are referenced all the time when discussing this topic, and you will find all three major reports online. However, we recommend you read the synthesis report instead – it still gives the pertinent information, but in a more accessible, abbreviated format. Some additional recent reports that deal with the national security aspects of climate change are: Global Climate Change: National Security Implications from the Strategic Studies Institute; Climate Change Politics in North America: the State of Play from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars;National Security and the Threat of Climate Change from the CNA Corporation, this is an influential report as it was written by retired high ranking military officials; Climate Change: National Security Threats from the Senate, this is composed of testimony from some of the authors of the preceding report; Climate Change and National Security from the Council on Foreign Relations; and An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security commissioned by the Pentagon’s think tank – the Office of Net Assessment. Other very worthwhile sites include the Rand Corporation; the Pew Center on Global Climate Change; and the National Academies of Sciences. Here is an interesting article – “Global climate change, war, and population decline in recent human history.”

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