Wednesday, 12 August 2009

U.S. Military: Climate Change a Security Threat

One of the most vexing challenges related to climate change has long been finding a way to get people to pay attention. Climate change is caused by the release of invisible gases and the impacts are felt over relatively long timeframes.

We simply are not evolved to pay attention to such intangible, long-range threats. We respond much better when the danger is immediate, proximate, and something that we've encountered before.

Like war, for example.

This week, the U.S. Defense Department issued a report arguing that U.S. failure to lead the way on greenhouse gas reductions could expose the country to a raft of military security challenges.

Storms, droughts, floods, and disease can lead to riots, wars and conflict, mass population movements, and government instability in strategically important countries around the world. Dealing with these challenges, on a recurring and increasingly basis, is but one of the costs imposed by unchecked climate change.

The timing of this report is helpful. The ambitious plans that were initially drafted in the U.S. House of Representatives are in danger of being watered down or even shelved. Putting the case for taking action into terms that we humans are better evolved to understand and recognise may help shift the terms of debate and lead to rapid action.
(Carbon Clear website)