Australian news, and some related international items

Inquiry into the security ramifications of climate change – warning on Australia’s risks

Australia faces potentially disastrous consequences of climate change, inquiry told
Former defence force chief decries Australia’s response to climate challenge as a ‘manifest failure of leadership’, Guardian, 
Ben Doherty and Michael Slezak, 11 Aug 17.

Military and climate experts, including a former chief of the defence force, have warned that Australia faces potential “disastrous consequences” from climate change, including “revolving” natural disasters and the forced migration of tens of millions of people across the region, overwhelming security forces and government.

Former defence force chief Adm Chris Barrie, now adjunct professor at the strategic and defence studies centre at the Australian National University, said in a submission to a Senate inquiry that Australia’s ability to mitigate and respond to the impacts of climate change had been corrupted by political timidity: “Australia’s climate change credentials have suffered from a serious lack of political leadership”.

The inquiry into the security ramifications of climate change also heard from some of the country’s leading climate scientists, who warned the security threats posed by climate change had been underestimated, and complained Australia had been “walking away” from exactly the type of research that would help the country prepare……

Barrie said the security threat of climate change was comparable to that posed by nuclear war, and said the Australian continent would be most affected by changing climate.

 “We will suffer great effects from these changes, such as new weather patterns; droughts, sea-level rises and storm surges, because we have substantial urban infrastructure built on the coastal fringe; ravages of more intense and more frequent heatwaves and tropical revolving storms.”

But he said the existential impacts of climate change were likely to be first, and most severely, felt across Australia’s region, the Asia-Pacific rim, the most populous region in the world, and one that will be home to seven billion people by 2050……..

The Australian Defence Force has been examining the potential insecurities caused by climate change for a decade. Within Defence, there are serious concerns over the vulnerability of military bases to climate impacts, and the military’s reliance on fossil fuels.

But Barrie said political action lagged far behind and Australia’s hyper-politicised debate over climate had hampered decisive government action.

“Our current posture is a manifest failure of leadership,” he said……..

Jane McAdam, director of UNSW’s Kaldor centre for international refugee law told the inquiry climate change functioned as a “threat amplifier”, that magnified risk and exacerbated existing crises.

“Disasters become disasters on steroids: more frequent and more intense. Climate change is also a process. Slow-onset impacts such as sea-level rise or desertification take place over time, resulting in a gradual deterioration of living conditions that ultimately renders land uninhabitable.”……

McAdam said most displacement and migration would occur within countries, not across national borders.

“Longer-term movement will generally be gradual rather sudden, and movement that is sudden (for instance, in the aftermath of a disaster) will often require temporary relief rather than permanent migration. There is scant evidence to justify claims that there will be mass outflows of people across international borders which will threaten international, regional or national security, or generate new risks of Islamist terrorism or fundamentalism.”……


August 11, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

1 Comment »

  1. It’s good to see someone with authority speak out even if the message is bad. The government needs to begin making plans to get people through the coming disaster.

    Comment by GarryRogers | August 11, 2017 | Reply

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