The only mention of climate change in President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech
falls squarely in the climate and security context. He introduces the climate imperative by highlighting natural resources and development connections to stability and human well-being.
In these two paragraphs, the President identifies the key communities that must come together, first in dialogue and then in cooperation, but who so commonly don’t: development, natural resources, health, climate, peacebuilding, and security.
It is undoubtedly true that development rarely takes root without security; it is also true that security does not exist where human beings do not have access to enough food, or clean water, or the medicine and shelter they need to survive. It does not exist where children can’t aspire to a decent education or a job that supports a family. The absence of hope can rot a society from within.Photo: President Barack Obama looks at the Nobel Peace Prize medal at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).
And that’s why helping farmers feed their own people — or nations educate their children and care for the sick — is not mere charity. It’s also why the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, more famine, more mass displacement — all of which will fuel more conflict for decades. For this reason, it is not merely scientists and environmental activists who call for swift and forceful action — it’s military leaders in my own country and others who understand our common security hangs in the balance.