Relaciones Internacionales – Comunicación Internacional

Global Security and Climate Change

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Updated: 13 octubre, 2014

Updated on October 13, 2014

Until the end of Clinton’s second mandate, the United States didn’t include climate change as a serious security threat. Twelve years after he left the White House, a majority of governments and armies in the world have reached the same conclusion, although such a diagnosis in very few countries has been accompanied by the required policies to check the menace.

The American Security Project’s Climate Change and Global Security Defense Index seeks to detail how governments around the world, and militaries in particular, plan for and anticipate the strategic threats of climate change. The project tries to determine, mostly through official documents and statements, to what extent governments  act coherently with what they claim to see as a grave threat.
In its preliminary results, made public on March 21, 2013, Andrew Holland and Xander Vagg summed up the advanced content of their Index in three paragraphs and four percentages.

KEY POINTS

Climate change is real and it is happening now. Its effects are having an impact on the security and stability of virtually every country around the world.

The governments and militaries of an overwhelming majority of countries – at least 110 – have identified climate change as a threat to their security. Many have fully integrated it into their defense and national security planning documents.

Defense documents and statements by Heads of State are important signifiers of a country’s priorities. The importance of climate change in these documents show that the world is demanding action to address this issue.

Climate change, according to the authors, is a risk to global security because «it increases vulnerability in infrastructure, agriculture, energy and other factors». Main national security strategies, the Spanish one included (still in stand by, waiting for a decision by the PP government of Mariano Rajoy), formally recognize it.

Unfortunately, the economic and financial crisis, which has forced nearly all Western governments to control their public expenses in the last four years, has increased the gap between what high oficials and the strategic documents say and what governments do.

Nevertheless, the report’s authors think they have already enough data to divide the world in four groups of countries:

Layout of the Index

1. Those which clearly see climate change as a security threat.

2. Countries seeing it just as an environmental  issue.

3. Those which don’t even consider it a source of concern.

4. Finally, there are countries which cannot be classified, given the lack of information available.

Preliminary Results

Climate Change is a National Security Threat 110 out of 155* – 71% of countries

Climate Change as an Environmental Concern 32/155* – 21% of countries

Climate Change is Not a Defined Concern 13/155* – 8% of countries

No Information Available 41/196* – 21% of countries
(*)for which information is available

DALLAS EVENT – Climate Change: Risks for National Security http://www.americansecurityproject.org/event/dallas-event-climate-change-risks-for-national-security/#.U4ZBnqvLXgQ.twitter 

 Related (in Spanish)

Climate change poses a serious threat to security and is becoming a “catalyst for conflict” in vulnerable countries: http://j.mp/U3oMAE 

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