Climate Change and National Security: Are They Linked?
by William O'Keefe
October 31, 2011
Increasingly, it has become common to assert that environmental change brought on by rising temperatures caused by humanity's industrial activities and lifestyle choices will negatively impact U.S. national security interests. A new paper by Institute CEO William O'Keefe examines the basis for these claims.
In Climate Change and National Security: Are They Linked?, O'Keefe examines the scientific basis for the claims as well as the arguments linking environmental concerns to national security interests.
Climate change becomes a security concern only if the societies affected are unable to cope with the changes, O'Keefe argues. He concludes: "The impacts of weather events or climate change in the developing world are not caused by developed world carbon emissions. They are caused primarily by extreme poverty which is the result of exploitation by dictators, and the lack of economic and personal freedom, the rule of law, property rights, and access to commercial energy. Solving the problem of poverty in these countries would provide them the capacity and resilience to deal with whatever climate exists in the future."