Thursday, August 13, 2009

Natural Security: the Next Big Security Issue

Anyone still living in New Orleans doesn't have to be told that natural disasters can be as big a threat to their lives and well being as an attack by terrorists or another enemy. And you don't have to tell the president of the the island nation of the Maldives, who is saving a significant portion his country's tax revenue so that they can buy land elsewhere and relocate the country when it is covered by the rising sea. The journal Nature reports that this is the highest level of hurricanes in the Atlantic in the past 1,000 years.
Stephen Walt may be his usual contrarian self and say natural security is not a real threat, but the government disagrees, including climate change in the National Intelligence Council's "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World" report on future threats.
Several organizations are noticing as well. Truman Project-affiliated Operation Free is working to promote understanding and action on climate change as a national security imperative. CNAS has launched their own natural security project as well. The Center for Naval Analysis has been rolling out lots of retired stars (admirals and generals) promoting their own report. Friend Of The Blog Nat Skinner writes frequently about the intersection of "Energy, Environment, and Security."
I'm quite convinced that natural security is an important component of the security threat debate. But I have yet to hear any significant answers from these groups. The CNA group talked about how DoD needs to become more energy efficient, but none of them seem to have done anything to make it happen when they were actually serving. What is it we should do? Is it just high level policy changes, and if so which ones? If we passed a cap-and-trade bill with some teeth would that do the trick? I'm convinced we have a problem, I'm still waiting for someone to think hard and come up with real solutions.

No comments:

Post a Comment