Climate Change as Terrorism

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Lowy Institute, a think-tank in Australia has a new study reflecting on the security implications of climate change;

“In this Lowy Paper we argue that there is no longer much doubt that the world is facing a prolonged period of planetary warming, largely fuelled by modern lifestyles, which is unprecedented in human history in terms of its magnitude and probable environmental consequences. With a few notable exceptions, even sceptics now seem prepared to accept the validity of the basic science underpinning climate change forecasts.

Crucially, however, there is no consensus about appropriate strategies for dealing with the consequences of climate change, primarily because there is no agreement about its seriousness for international security. The reality is that climate change of the order and time frames predicted by climate scientists poses fundamental questions of human security, survival and the stability of nation states which necessitate judgments about political and strategic risk as well as economic cost.


The central problem is the rate at which temperatures are increasing rather than the absolute size of differential warming. Spread over several centuries, or a millennium, temperature rises of several degrees could probably be managed without political instability or major threats to commerce, agriculture and infrastructure. Compressed within the space of a single century, global warming will present far more daunting challenges of human and biological adaptation, especially for natural ecosystems which typically evolve over hundreds of thousands and millions of years.

Our principal conclusion is that the wider security implications of climate change have been largely ignored and seriously underestimated in public policy, academia and the media. Climate change will complicate and threaten Australia’s security environment in several ways. First, weather extremes and greater fluctuations in rainfall and temperatures have the capacity to refashion the region’s productive landscape and exacerbate food, water and energy scarcities in a relatively short time span. Sea-level rise is of particular concern because of the density of coastal populations and the potential for the large-scale displacement of people in Asia….”

It’s fashionable for leaders of small low-lying countries to complain about developed world causing havoc on the earth’s environment- it goes something like this, ‘why should we have to be the ones to pay for the lifestyle of the rich world’. I doubt whether any one living in a coastal community seriously considers that global warming is a real threat- all the talk hadn’t had much of a behavioral change on such communities to prepare for their inevitable fate as depicted in the media and in research.

Related:

It's Getting Warmer- Thomas C. Schelling

Prices and Quantities in Climate Change- John Quiggin

A Test of Our Character-Paul Krugman

Alaska feeling effects of warming earth

Letter from Maldives- Not sinking but drowning; But burning less oil to keep air cool so ice stays ice and the seas don’t warm is too expensive and roundabout a way to meet the danger, Mr Mendelsohn thinks. Wouldn’t it be cheaper, he asks, for Maldivians, and those like them, to move?

Podcasts;

A Panel discussion on Climate- from the Environmental Summit of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University

Collapse- Jared Diamond

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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on June 17, 2006 11:07 PM.

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