Will Climate Change become National Security Issue before It’s Too Late?

A significant list of serious national security figures (along with some not so serious people like Joe Lieberman, James Woolsey, and Frank Wisner) have released a letter calling for immediate focus on climate change.

The letter is not perfect. It still treats climate change as a force that will destabilize parts of the world, causing more headaches for us, rather than a force that will kill people directly.

Countries least able to adapt to or mitigate the impacts of climate change will suffer the most, but the resulting crises will quickly become a burden on U.S. priorities as well. Both the Department of Defense and the State Department have identified climate change as a serious risk to American security and an agent of instability.Without precautionary measures, climate change impacts abroad could spur mass migrations, influence civil conflict and ultimately lead to a more unpredictable world. In fact, we may already be seeing signs of this as vulnerable communities in some of the most fragile and conflict-ridden states are increasingly displaced by floods, droughts and other natural disasters. Protecting U.S. interests under these conditions would progressively exhaust American military, diplomatic and development resources as we struggle to meet growing demands for emergency international engagement.

It is in our national interest to confront the risk that climate change in vulnerable regions presents to American security. We must offer adaptive solutions to communities currently facing climate-driven displacement, support disaster risk reduction measures and help mitigate potential future impacts through sustainable food, water and energy systems. Advancing stability in the face of climate change threats will promote resilient communities, reliable governance and dependable access to critical resources.

It still treats climate change as something that happens over there, not in New York or the midwest. It still treats climate change as a secondary issue.

Nor does it situate climate change against other threats, which pretty quickly shows that not only is climate change a more immediate threat than al Qaeda or China, but that its effects create conditions that foster the former.

But it’s a start.

Until it becomes consensus that climate change is a national security threat, and must be treated with the same seriousness and intolerance with failure as any other national security threat, we’re not going to a damn thing about it.

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JimWhiteGNV RT @KKiermaier39: So cool to be nominated for the gold glove award...never thought this random thursday would turn out so great haha
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emptywheel @ryanjreilly Holder did a great job helping all those corrupt as hell GOPers avoid Material Support charges. And now they defect.
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emptywheel @pwnallthethings Also remember Gravel managed to do it w/Pentagon papers by introing it into his committee. I wonder if Udall could do that?
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emptywheel @pwnallthethings Because that person would be violating Senate ethics? I'm wondering whether, if he loses, Udall might consider it though.
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bmaz @20committee @AllThingsHLS Dang, we agree on that!
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emptywheel Reup: At least 8 pieces of evidence of CIA's torture has been altered or disappeared. https://t.co/A4G2WfmObL Were access logs another?
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JimWhiteGNV RT @TheTweetOfGod: The people who say I send viruses and disasters as a means to punish you for your sins, are the means by which I punish …
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emptywheel @astepanovich Gonna keep nagging you, you know...
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bmaz @trevortimm @ncardozo Could do a LOT worse. For instance, @stewartbaker once served in government.
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bmaz @donachaidh Lol yes!
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emptywheel @astepanovich Hey, did you sign up for frequent flier miles yet?
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bmaz The hyperbole being engaged in by the relentless @ggreenwald haters is light years more ridiculous than any potential hyperbole by Glenn.
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