He. She Set up As the “most significant” shift in the Australian Armed Forces in decades. Among the major announcements, climate change was recognized as a national security issue.
But the Strategic review From the Australian Army released yesterday goes no further when it comes to the climate crisis. The review devotes just over one of its 100 pages to what climate change means for defense.
While analysts and militaries abroad take seriously the strategic implications of climate change and the role of defense, the Australian review focused more on climate change as a potential source of distraction than the military’s core business in war fighting. While our armed forces are increasingly called upon to respond to natural disasters, the report said, they are less prepared to fight a war.
This focus is too narrow. It’s also a long way from what the research tells us, and a long way from what our allies are doing.
What is the link between climate change and national security?
At the most basic level, security doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t extend to survival conditions. The climate emergency has been described as a direct threat to both humans And environmental protection.
But climate change also hangs over the traditional security agenda, which is to defend against attacks. Forward-thinking militaries around the world began to prepare for these effects.
Climate change can increase the likelihood of armed conflict through action “Threat multiplier“.
Climate-induced droughts, desertification, changing rainfall patterns, and loss of arable land can lead to the collapse of governments or the flight of populations.
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and some analysts has indicated To the role of climate change in contributing to the armed conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan and the civil war in Syria.
Unchecked climate change is likely to increase the demand for armed forces Response to natural disastersis expected to increase in intensity and frequency on a hotter planet.
Yesterday’s Strategic Review focused on that demand, and with good reason – it’s already happening.
Increasingly, the army and air force They are called To respond to Australia’s wave of ‘unprecedented disasters’ such as the floods of the past three years, and the summer of fires in 2019-20. Navy ships Hundreds evacuated From the beach at Mallacoota in Victoria, under an eerie light.
Then there is the world. demand on Humanitarian assistance supported by the military Growing. Our neighbors are among the most vulnerable In the world to the effects of natural disasters.
Besides responding to refugees, conflicts, and natural disasters, there is the question of how to equip, train, and resource armies.
Rising temperatures, rising sea levels and natural disasters can threaten infrastructure and defense bases. The Australian Department of Defense is The largest landowner in the countryMany of them are in exposed coastal areas.
Our army has a great dealcarbon footprintBecause it relies heavily on machines that burn fossil fuels, from destroyers to tanks. Ensuring there is enough fuel in the future is a concern, especially if they are large. military contribution Greenhouse gas emissions are under increasing scrutiny.
In that sense, it was good to see the review mention the importance of the Army accelerating the transition to clean energy. But the urgency of the climate crisis suggests that our military must also factor climate change into its procurement and equipment management considerations now. So far, there is little evidence that Australia has done so.
What are other countries doing?
Major partners such as America, the United Kingdom and many other countries are ahead of us. In my ongoing research, I have analyzed climate responses and interviewed policymakers from other countries. This indicates that we are far behind.
The US military is beginning to analyze what climate change will mean for it in the 1990’s. The Biden administration has made climate change a higher priority on the National Security Council and has firmly linked climate and security in what one interviewee told me is a “game changer.”
The UK has an expert panel within the Ministry of Defense that studies the security implications of climate change. In 2021, she produced a strategy document With emissions reduction targets for its armed forces, as well as investment to make the transition possible.
New Zealand has gone beyond reactive responses and has taken an active role for its military in responding to natural disasters At home and in the area. One of my interviewees told me that this is central to the military’s “social license.”
New Zealand’s position has been deeply affected by its concerns Pacific neighbors. Wellington decision makers also decided that defense would not be exempt from the government’s targets for net zero.
France has taken similar situation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief focused on the Overseas Territories and the wider Francophone world. These processes are not presented as a distraction but as an essential obligation.
Sweden and Germany have used their time on the United Nations Security Council in recent years pressure for a solution On the organization’s role in addressing the international security repercussions of climate change. And when Sweden join NATORecently, it is likely to push for more military preparedness for climate change NATO commitments on this front.
Can Australia catch up?
Yes. But the first step is knowing where we are – and where the world is headed.
The Australian defense sector must take seriously what climate change will bring about, not least given the acute vulnerabilities of our region and the existential concerns of our Pacific neighbors.
Unfortunately, yesterday’s review indicates that our defense establishment does not fully share these concerns.
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the quote: Opinion: Climate is not a distraction from the military’s mission to fight war. It’s front and center (2023, April 25) Retrieved April 25, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-04-opinion-climate-isnt-distraction-military.html
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