Colloquium Brief - Global Climate Change: National Security Implications   [open pdf - 253KB]

"Climate change is underway. The effects will vary according to a broad variety of circumstances and interactions, some of which are not well-understood. Likewise, mitigation is not well understood, and will not take place quickly. The national security implications of climate change are proportional both to the speed of change and the extent. Public awareness should follow a coordinated strategic communication plan that focuses on maintaining credibility. Threats to national survival stemming from catastrophic change must be anticipated, evaluated, and neutralized to the greatest degree possible. The entire range of plausible threats needs to be delineated, then analyzed and early warning criteria established. The alternative approaches and cost-benefit analyses must be run to establish what can be done, when, and at what cost. While military forces have roles in disaster relief, the broader impact of serious climate change will require multinational, multi-agency cooperation on a scale heretofore unimaginable and could provide no-fault ground for global cooperation. Effective interagency action may require new legislation and better definition of Department of Homeland Security authority. Should global cooperative measures fail, the first impact will likely come from large numbers of displaced people who, by the very nature of their displacement, will become subject to malnutrition and disease; agricultural dislocation could aggravate or spark displacement and border security issues could arise as well."

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Strategic Studies Institute: http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/
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