LASER TALK: Climate Change and Global Security

Climate Change and Global Security

In April 2008, Britain’s Royal United Service Institute warned that a failure to acknowledge climate change security threats is as dangerous as neglecting the risks of terrorism or nuclear weapons proliferation (1). In fact, CCL Canada’s national manager sent this Royal United Service Institute report to all federal party leaders in September 2009.

In 2011, in the United States, A New Strategic Narrative for the 21st Century was presented to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It identified climate change as a key threat to economic and political stability (2).

There is an extensive chapter on the implications of climate change for human security in the fifth report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It detailed threats to global security and possibilities of violent conflict (3).

In March, Scientific American published a paper that outlined how climate change hastened Syria’s Civil War (4). Global security is of concern to many Canadians, yet Canada is a certainly not doing our fair share internationally to cut carbon emissions.

In March 2016 the US Pentagon made climate change a long-term global security goal (9).

The facts are global warming is real, human-caused, poses a threat to global security and the solution is to cut emissions. Canada’s climate commitments are the still the Harper Government’s commitments and they are woefully inadequate (9). When a country as prosperous as Canada fails to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, we lose moral authority.

In 2011, the International Energy Agency warned that the point of no return for the climate would be crossed in 2016 (10). If this government is truly serious about terrorist threats and national security, doing our fair share internationally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should be an integral part of long-term plans. A robust price on carbon pollution is a critical piece of reducing gas emissions (11) . Canada will lead the world on carbon pricing with a nationally integrated carbon fee and dividend with border tax adjustments.

1) RUSI report: Security response to climate change ‘slow and inadequate’ (2008)

2) Op-Ed: A National Strategic Narrative and Grand Strategy for the 21st Century (2011) Century/2011/7/1should

3) New climate change report details threats to global security, possibilities of violent conflict (2014) conflict/article17734823/

4) Climate Change Hastened Syria’s Civil War (2015)



7) Canada won’t meet 2020 greenhouse gas emission targets: report

8) Pentagon Directive Quietly Makes Climate Change A Longterm Priority Goal (March 2016) New Security Beat, Wilson Centre

9) UN panel calls Canada a climate laggard (Thursday, June 4, 2015)

10) World Headed for Irreversible Climate Change IEA  Warns (2011)

11) Five ways to reduce the drivers of climate change