Global Security Depends on Climate Change Mitigation

hurricane floods covering a boatThe National Security, Military and Intelligence Panel (NSMIP) of the Center for Climate and Security released a report warning the public of “high-to-catastrophic” threats to domestic and global security originating from climactic changes. Consisting of representatives from national security, military, and intelligence fields, the panel analyzed security impacts of global warming and identified major threats to the U.S. defense, critical infrastructure, and security institutions. Drawing upon the most recent empirical research, the authors determine that “even at scenarios of low warming, each region of the world will face severe risks to national and global security in the next three decades.”

The report, titled “A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change: How Likely Warming Scenarios Indicate a Catastrophic Security Future,” outlines the following key findings:

  • The world will likely experience both near and medium-to-long term destabilizing changes if global emissions are not mitigated;
  • Even at low levels of warming, dry and arid regions, least-developed countries, small island states, and the Arctic polar region will remain most vulnerable;
  • Developed regions will experience threats at all levels of warming, whereby longer term, high emissions warming scenarios would lead to catastrophic security risks;
  • Climate change will continue posing significant threats to U.S. military missions across the globe while destabilizing the regions and relationships crucial to global security.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations, including an urgent call to achieve net-zero global emissions, to “climate-proof” human security environments, infrastructure, and institutions, as well as to prioritize and address climate security threats in a concerted multilateral effort. Furthermore, the authors emphasize that current international commitments, such as the Paris Climate Agreement, “are not nearly commensurate to contain the threat.”

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