Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965):
The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close.
In its place we are entering a period of consequences.
Implications of Global Climate Change
- Soft power and north-south tensions will increase
- Migration and immigration will rise, producing a strong backlash
- Public health problems will grow
- Resource conflicts and vulnerabilities will intensify
- Nuclear activity will increase, with attendant risks
- Challenges to global governance will multiply
- Domestic political repercussions and state failure will occur
- The balance of power will shift in unpredictable ways
- China’s role will be critical
- The United States must come to terms with climate change
Environmental and National Security Implications of Three Climate Scenarios
- Average 1.3°C warming
- 0.23 meters of sea level rise
- Approximately 30 year time frame
- Average 2.6°C warming
- 0.52 meters of sea level rise
- Approximately 30 year time frame
- Average 5.6°C warming
- 2.0 meters of sea level rise
- Approximately 100 year time frame
- Water scarcity affects up to 1.7 billion people
- Changed distribution of some infectious disease vectors and allergenic pollen species
- Up to 3 million additional people at risk of flooding
- Up to 30 million more people at risk of hunger due to crop failure
- Water scarcity affects up to 2 billion people
- Increased burden from malnutrition, diarrheal, cardio-respiratory and infectious diseases
- Up to 15 million additional people at risk of flooding
- Changes in marine and ecosystems due to weakening of the meridional overturning circulation
- Water scarcity affects 3.2 billion people
- Increased morbidity and mortality from heat waves, floods, and droughts
- Approximately 30% loss of coastal wetlands
- Up to 120 million more people at risk of hunger due to crop failure
- Possible collapse of the meridional overturning circulation
- Conflict over resources due to and driving human migration
- Immigrants — or even simply visitors — from a country in which there has been a significant disease outbreak may not be welcomed and could be subject to quarantine and lead to loss of national income from restricted tourism
- Dissatisfaction with state governments could radicalize internal politics and create new safe havens [for violent extremists] in weak and failing states
- A strengthened geopolitical hand for natural gas exporting countries and, potentially, biofuel exporting countries …
[A] weakened hand, both strategically and economically, for importers of all fuel types
- Social services will become increased burden on central government where available
- The regional positions of Turkey and others will likely be strengthened as a result of the water crisis
- Wealthiest members of society pull away from the rest of the population, undermining morale and viability of democratic governance
- Global fish stocks may crash, enmeshing some nations in a struggle over dwindling supplies
- Governments, lacking necessary resources, may privatize water supply …
[Past] experience with this in poor societies suggests likelihood of violent protest and political upheaval
- Globalization may end and rapid economic decline may begin, owing to the collapse of financial and production systems that depend on integrated worldwide systems
- Corporations may become increasingly powerful relative to governments as the rich look to private services, engendering a new form of globalization in which transnational business becomes more powerful than states
- Alliance systems and multilateral institutions may collapse — among them, the UN, as the Security Council fractures beyond compromise or repair
- Migration toward US borders by millions of hungry and thirsty southern neighbors is likely to dominate US security and humanitarian concerns
- A shrinking Russian population might have substantial difficulty preventing China from asserting control over much of Siberia and the Russian Far East …
[A high] probability of conflict between two destabilized nuclear powers …
- Rage at government’s inability to deal with the abrupt and unpredictable crises
- Religious fervor, perhaps even a dramatic rise in millennial end-of-days cults
- Hostility and violence toward migrants and minority groups
- Altruism and generosity would likely be blunted
- US military’s worldwide reach could be reduced substantially by logistics and the demand of missions near our shores
- Electricity generation and distribution highly vulnerable to attack by [violent extremists] and rogue states
(Adapted from Table 3, p 104)
Security Implications of Global Climate Change
- The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change, 5 November, 2007.
Kurt M Campbell, Jay Gulledge, JR McNeill, John Podesta, Peter Ogden, Leon Fuerth, R James Woolsey, Alexander TJ Lennon, Julianne Smith, Richard Weitz and Derek Mix.
Setting the Negotiating Table
Julianne Smith, Alexander T J Lennon, and Derek Mix
[China, the EU and the United States] are responsible for roughly half of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), emitting 20.4, 14.1, and 14.7% of global GHG emissions, respectively [2000 figures].
No other country is responsible for more than 5.7%.
The new Energy Policy for Europe (EPE) … approved by the spring 2007 European Council [committed the EU to unilaterally reduce] its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 (compared to 1990), with a pledge for 30% reduction should other developed countries follow suit.
[The] EPE calls for the EU … to triple its use of renewable energy sources by 2020 to provide for 20% of overall consumption.
The plan additionally sets out, albeit in general terms, new regulatory measures to improve energy efficiency [by developing] energy-saving and low-carbon technologies. …
[However, although there is] an EU-wide consensus on the issue of climate change and the need to address it does indeed exist, there are also 27 underlying national perspectives — not to mention those of non-EU members such as Norway on the importance of and best solution to the problem.
As Europe’s largest economy, Germany’s planned 21% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2012 under Kyoto accounts for nearly three-quarters of the overall 8% EU reduction.
… Europe is faced with the challenge of achieving a further 12% reduction between 2012 and 2020, and with its weighted portion factored in, Germany is looking at a total 40% reduction in CO2 generation over a 15-year period. …
[The] United Kingdom [has] set about achieving its Kyoto commitment of a 12.5% emissions reduction by raising emissions standards for automakers, introducing a graduated auto tax based on fuel efficiency, and aiming to increase national use of biofuels.
In March 2007 [Tony] Blair also set a long-term national goal of a 60% CO2 emissions reduction by 2050, which will be implemented through a series of five-year “carbon budgets.”
Although it is debatable whether the UK is currently on pace to meet the target for 2050, it is on track to fulfill its Kyoto commitment.
[Nuclear power] provides for more than three-fourths of France’s power needs …
The economies of the new member states of central and eastern Europe are generally far more dependent on coal, gas, and CO2-generating manufacturing than their western counterparts.
Poland … derives 90% of its energy from coal. …
Estonia’s renewables account for 1% of energy sources [compared to] Austria’s [which] account for 60%.
These facts led the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to oppose the EPE. …
The desirability and acceptability of nuclear power as a … topic of passionate debate in Europe [between:]
- pro-nuclear energy countries such as the Czech Republic, Finland, France, and Slovakia on one side and
- countries with broadly anti-nuclear publics, such as Austria, Denmark, and Ireland, on the other.
[Under] the Red-Green government of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Germany plans to do away with its nuclear plants, which currently provide one-third of the country’s power, by 2020. …