The scope of national security is expanding beyond violent threats to encompass a broader array of dangers. In an article for World Politics Review, CFR's Stewart M. Patrick assesses the implications of COVID-19 and climate change for the theory and practice of national security.
During the past two weeks, Antigua & Barbuda, Nicaragua and Panama ratified the Escazú Agreement, giving a major boost to the unprecedented and innovative Latin American pact that seeks to reduce social conflicts and protect frontline communities in the world’s deadliest region for environmental defenders.
If ratified, the Mercosur-EU trade deal may reinforce the parties’ commitment to climate action. Yet, its potential relevance is weakened by a language that often stops short of concrete commitments, as well as political resistance.
Intelligence analysts have agreed since the late 80s that climate change poses serious security risks. A series of authoritative governmental and non-governmental analyses over more than three decades lays a strong foundation for concern over climate change implications for national security.
The report, requested by the US Congress in 2017, drew sharp criticism for being too thin on details and failing to show which bases are most at risk across the military.
The Global Climate Action Summit has created a subtle, yet resonating effect on international climate diplomacy. Arguably, its biggest contribution lies in reaffirming the active role of the US in climate action – a refreshing sign of political maturity and environmental responsibility in Trumpian times.
Fourteen Latin American and Caribbean countries made history at the UN General Assembly on September 27 by signing the Escazú Agreement, a regional accord on public participation and access to information and justice in environmental affairs. It is the first region-wide agreement of its kind and has been touted a big step forward in recognising the rights of environmental defenders. Signatories now need to ratify the Agreement internally before it can enter into force.
In November 2017, the U.S. government released its first ever Global Water Strategy – to our knowledge also the first of its kind globally. The opening page cites President Trump claiming that ‘[w]ater may be the most important issue we face for the next generation’. This priority may surprise observers of the current U.S. administration.
Climate change is no longer a niche issue, but is now part of broader political and economic agendas. In the U.S., for example, those supporting climate action face a broad alliance of opposition extending beyond climate change across many issues, as well as dysfunctions in the U.S. policy making process. For these reasons, Paul Joffe argues that climate diplomacy requires a strategy that goes beyond climate change to address the full range of these drivers.
James Mattis’ unpublished testimony before a Senate panel recognizes a threat others in the administration reject or minimize.