Friday, November 17, 2017

Climate Change and Nuclear Threats Are Twins

Climate change and nuclear threats feed off each other and should be treated in unison, an influential US think-tank says.

A UK Trident submarine. (Image Credit: UK Defense Ministry, via Wikimedia Commons) Click to Enlarge.
Climate change and nuclear threats are closely linked and must be tackled together, US experts say.

The warning comes from a working group chaired by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a non-partisan policy institute of security and military experts (many of them high-ranking former members of the armed forces), in a report which offers a  framework for understanding and addressing the distinct problems together.

The report is published as this year’s UN climate summit draws to a close in Bonn in the aftermath of President Trump’s tour of Asia, during which nuclear weapons issues featured prominently. 

Professor Christine Parthemore, a former adviser to the US defense department,  co-chairs the working group.  She told the Climate News Network:
“Simultaneous effects of climate change, tough social or economic pressures, and security challenges could increase the risk of conflict among nuclear weapon-possessing states, even if that conflict stems from miscalculation or misperception.  India and Pakistan are major concerns.

“They are grappling with water stress, deadly natural disasters, terrorism, and numerous other pressures.  At the same time, the types of nuclear weapons they are developing and policies on command of those weapons are raising tensions between them.

“Our group believed this is a recipe for not only increasing the risk of conflict, but for raising the risk of such a conflict escalating to the nuclear realm.

“Big picture:  nuclear nonproliferation regimes and international climate change cooperation help underpin the global order.  They are stabilizing forces, and if we don’t continue strengthening them, we may see a less predictable global security environment.   

“This is especially dangerous in times like these when some countries are more actively flaunting their nuclear threats toward one another.  North Korea has been the most active in that regard.”
The authors say countries such as Nigeria, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are dealing simultaneously with a range of interdependent internal pressures – including climatic, economic, security, and environmental demands – as they pursue nuclear energy.

Read more at Climate Change and Nuclear Threats Are Twins

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