The impacts of climate change are increasingly felt and observed around the world, especially in the areas of water resources and food production. Predicted increases in droughts, floods and food shortages hold significant security implications for many nations. Climate Change and the Military, a project launched by a consortium of think tanks in Asia, Europe and North America, examines the challenges caused or exacerbated by the world’s changing climate and seeks to raise the awareness of resulting security threats.
On October 29, the Energy Security Initiative at Brookings, the Institute for Environmental Security, CNA, E3G and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a discussion on the real dangers for conflicts and disputes resulting from resource shortages, water rights and natural disasters. The event featured the launch of a call for action at Copenhagen from the project’s Military Advisory Council, a group of senior officers from Bangladesh, Guyana, India, Mauritania, Nepal, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The call for action warns of the security implications of a failure at Copenhagen and calls upon all governments to ensure that the security implications of climate change are integrated into their respective military strategies. Panelists also addressed the importance of involving the military on an ongoing basis in the struggle against climate change. Case studies on Afghanistan and the melting of the Himalayan glaciers—the “third pole”—were highlighted.
After each panel, participants took audience questions.