“Climate Change and Security
,” a short briefing by Paul Rogers
of the Oxford Research Group, examines the recent trend of framing climate change in terms of a national security threat and presents some of the pros and cons of this viewpoint. Rogers says the recent uptick in interest by the military is expected – and welcomed – because military planners often perform more long-term analyses than other policymakers. However, Rogers also cautions that the military, in its role as protector of the state, will naturally focus on adapting to the effects of climate change rather than preventing them. Thus, while this willingness to think long-term is appreciated, work remains to convince the international security community of the importance of carbon-cutting measures as well.
“Fueling the Future Force: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Era,” by Christine Parthemore and John Nagl of CNAS, is a comprehensive policy paper arguing for the U.S. military to aim for the ability to operate all its systems on non-petroleum fuels by 2040. Parthemore and Nagl outline a broad set of recommendations that address DOD’s consumption habits, leadership structure, finances, acquisition process, and mission goals. Notable, in the context of Paul Rogers’ warning, is that the authors’ argument is essentially one of supply and demand, rather than for cutting emissions to reduce the effects of climate change: “…while many of today’s weapons and transportation systems are unlikely to change dramatically or be replaced for decades, the petroleum needed to operate DOD assets may not remain affordable, or even reliably available, for the lifespans of these systems.”