Climate change and national security are rarely thought of simultaneously yet damage from storm surges and sea-level rises on Australia’s dense coastal populations and the increased frequency of humanitarian disasters in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region are examples of how climate change can impact on Australia’s national security in this century.
Australia’s longest conflict: our climate security challenge in the 21st century is the title of a recent report by the Centre for Policy Development. The report examines how Australia can prepare for the coming security impacts of climate change, and how our defence force can adapt. The report concludes that a whole government approach by Australia is urgently needed.
Fostering a larger and viable renewable energy sector, creating a comprehensive national adaptation strategy and utilising Australia’s aid and development programs to improve the adaptability of neighbours and partners are some of the measures suggested to improve Australia’s position on climate security.
“The security implications are known, real and have begun. So too are the environmental and economic impacts. On present form however, it seems that a ‘burning crisis’ combining economic, security and environmental impacts will provide the tipping point. Australia can ill afford to wait.”