Monday, July 13, 2009

Climate Security in the News

There are two articles worth commenting on.

Yesterday’s New York Times published an op-ed by Paul Hohnen and Jeremy Leggett arguing for framing climate change as a security issue, stating:
“It [Copenhagen] must be seen as a global security conference about the survival
of life on earth as we know it. It would help negotiators get a sense of the
stakes if they likened the challenge to that of stopping the impact of an
incoming asteroid or deterring an alien invasion.”

Also, The Independent previewed a soon to be released report from the Millennium Project on climate changing, warning that:
“The scale of political, financial, humanitarian, and security implications of
the effects of climate change are unprecedented, the causes are generally known,
and the consequences can largely be forecast. Nevertheless, coordination for
effective and adequate action is yet incipient, and environmental problems
worsen faster than response or preventive policies are being adopted.”

Media coverage of climate change is part of the problem. There is a danger that an agreement coming out of Copenhagen may not be enough to prevent catastrophic consequences. The international community made progress after the recent G8 and MEF summits but developed and developing nations remain far apart on emission targets, baseline years, and adaptation financing.

So long as climate change is treated as merely an economic or environmental concern, policy makers will think about climate change in zero-sum terms, which stalls serious action. By recognizing climate change’s security dimensions, these begin to make the case for action from policymakers.

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