Climate Change: The New Security Imperative in the Melting ArcticPrintable Version
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Highlighted for the first time in the Pentagon's 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review as an "accelerant of instability or conflict," climate change is quickly emerging as a significant national security challenge. To discuss the parameters of the relationship between climate change and security, CNP teamed with the American Security Project (ASP) to co-host the first in a series of forums designed to explore how climate change will shape the U.S. national security environment in the coming years. Dr. Scott Borgerson, Visiting Fellow for Ocean Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations moderated the kick-off event titled "Climate Change: The New Security Imperative in the Melting Arctic." The session also featured ASP Chairman and former Senator Gary Hart, Dr. Robert Huebert (University of Calgary), and RADM Gene Brooks (U.S. Coast Guard). The panelists addressed the complex set of challenges emerging as a result of warmer temperatures and melting ice in the Arctic, including the scramble for territory and resources among the five Arctic powers and the lack of clear rules governing this strategically and economically vital region.
The Arctic is in a state of massive transformation, not only physically, but politically, economically, and culturally as well, according to Dr. Huebert. He spoke of an Arctic arms race in which increasing interests, undetermined maritime boundaries, and the involvement of powerful states such as Russia, China, and the United States is raising serious concerns and creating an uncertain international security environment. Senator Hart pointed to the challenges in the Arctic as a perfect example of the security threats we face in the 21st century. The problem cannot be solved by traditional military means, he noted, but instead will require a multilateral, collaborative effort. RADM Brooks encouraged an ongoing education of the American public, urging the security community to engage Americans in a national discussion on the country's responsibilities as an Arctic nation. The Arctic security situation demands our immediate attention, the panelists said, because the challenges are not in the offing – they have already arrived.
Click here to read Dr. Robert Huebert's article, The Reluctant Arctic Power.