The two-dozen experts in attendance at the inaugural meeting of the Working Group on Climate, Nuclear and Security Affairs, hosted by the Center for Climate and Security, sought to examine the intersection of three threats that have long been viewed as separate—climate change, nuclear proliferation, and international conflict. In doing so, they confronted the unpleasant prospect that those threats not only had intensified over time, but also had become increasingly entwined and difficult to keep in check. Collectively these experts had garnered at least two centuries’ worth of national security experience. They came from defense, homeland security, journalism, think tank, academic, and NGO backgrounds, and all of them had spent years working on nuclear or climate issues, or both. Over the course of two days, it became clear that examining nuclear and climate issues together through the lens of new security issues—such as technological advances, unprecedented migration, continually evolving terrorist threats and an emboldened Russia—reveals the world order faces a deeply destabilizing toxic brew of risk. The nuclear threat is not new. What has changed is the nature of the nuclear threat in the face of monumental security stressors and a rapidly increasing global average temperature that threatens to reach 3.5 degrees Centigrade (6.3 degrees Fahrenheit)or more if we continue on our current trajectory in spewing carbon. As the world heats up, emerging security trends—including unprecedented migration, cyber threats, proliferation of non-state actors, and global pandemics—compound the stresses on systems of governance. When countries turn to nuclear energy in an effort to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl increase.
Lawfare 2nd June 2017 read more »