This picture brings the 350 ppm
carbon dioxide message to another kind of battlefield. It illustrates the increasing role of the military in bringing non-traditional voices to the political debates over action against climate change. There are plenty of ties, if one scratches the surface and gets into the climate-security field
The CNA Military Advisory Board, a group of distinguished retired flag officers, has been the most prominent manifestation, but this picture suggests it isn’t just the senior officers with an opinion on climate. President Barack Obama gave a shout out in his MIT speech to Operation Free, a group of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans currently on a bus tour campaigning for energy independence.
Equally important, if not as prominent in this political season, are the present or anticipated impacts of climate on the availability of certain resources (sometimes too much, sometimes too little) and how they might affect economic and political stability. And there are a wide range of reasons for the military to adopt the precautionary principle approach to climate change.
Right now, there is a strong focus on climate-security links in both the research and policy arenas. The challenge is to raise attention, perhaps most productively in a risk framework, without resorting to hyperbole that ultimately produces a backlash.
Photo courtesy of 350.org and Agent Slim. Thanks to Andy Revkin for flagging the picture.