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Climate Change and Security in the News May 2010

Commentary, 16 June 2010
Global Security Issues
A round-up of news and analysis relating to climate change and security in the world media for May 2010.

A round-up of news and analysis relating to climate change and security in the world media for May 2010.

climate asia

UK defence strategy unable to meet new security challenges

Writing for Channel4 news and OpenDemocracy, Professor Paul Rogers from the University of Bradford, has warned that the UK's defence strategy is stuck in the Cold War and unsuited to today's global security challenges. While the language in the UK National Security Strategy and two recent green papers reflects a growing understanding of new security challenges, the government has so far failed to follow this through in terms of what these challenges could mean for an integrated strategy that brings major aspects of economic and environmental policy into the realm of defence. Rogers is concerned the current focus on two significant military programmes (the aircraft carrier/F-35 strike aircraft programme and the like-for like replacement of the Trident nuclear system) 'greatly diminishes' the possibility of entering into a genuinely far-sighted strategic security review.

Coverage: Channel4, OpenDemocracy

Group of Experts: NATO faces new dangers

Earlier this month, the Group of Experts appointed by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to lay the groundwork for a new Strategic Concept for NATO presented its analysis and recommendations to the North Atlantic Council (NAC). The recommendations call for a more 'versatile' Alliance able to face new dangers 'from sources that are geographically and technologically diverse'. Significantly, the Group of Experts acknowledge that NATO could, in the future, be called upon to help cope with the security challenges stemming from the consequences of climate change.

The full report from the Group of Experts can be downloaded here

Coverage: Atlantic Council

Obama's first National Security Strategy identifies climate change threat

President Obama's first National Security Strategy is to focus on managing threats to global security. In a speech delivered at The Brookings Institute in Washington, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the United States needs to exercise "smart power" to deal with "new and complicated threats" including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, cyber-security and energy security. On global climate change, the strategy reads: 'climate change and pandemic disease threaten the security of regions and the health and safety of the American people'. The words 'climate change' were used 24 times in the 60-page document. In a separate statement, General Jim Jones, the President's national security adviser, referred to climate change as a 'core national security interest'.

Coverage: UPI, NYTimes, FOXNews

Climate change: an opportunity to strengthen US-China relations

Over the last month, the US and China have been working to strengthen bilateral relations by combating environmental degradation. However, according to researchers at Asia Policy Point, US defense planners have not fully recognized the many benefits to be gained by cooperating with China to address the security implications of climate change. Michael Davidson, a visiting fellow at Asia Policy Point argues that a cooperative initiative between the US and China could 'take advantage of its confidence-building components, while paving the way for engagement on other areas traditionally managed by militaries'.

Coverage: Asia Times

Pacific Islands call for UN Security Council to intervene in climate negotiations

The 11 nations that make up the Pacific Small Island Developing States have again called for the UN Security Council to use its mandate to break the stalemate in negotiations over a legally binding global climate treaty. Nauru's UN Ambassador Marlene Moses, the chair of the group of vulnerable nations said: 'climate change can devastate a country just as thoroughly as an invading army' and called for the Security Council to step in because UN-led negotiations for mandatory cuts in greenhouse gases and assistance for the most vulnerable nations have stalled. 'If the international community fails to take immediate action, then it will be complicit in the extinction of entire nations' she added.

Coverage: Belfast Telegraph

US military looking to break dependence on oil

In April, the US Navy conducted a test flight of an F/A-18 Super Hornet using a 50% mixture of biofuel. The flight of the 'Green Hornet', as it was called, followed an Air Force test a month earlier of an A-10C Thunderbolt II fueled with a similar blend. The purpose of both events was to test the performance of biofuel/petroleum mixtures with an eye toward the eventual certification of the fuels for routine use. The tests represent the latest efforts of the Department of Defense to increase its use of renewable energy, not only for environmental reasons but also to protect the military from energy price fluctuations and dependence on overseas sources of petroleum.






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