Intensifying climate change poses a serious threat to Australia’s national security and we are not sufficiently prepared, according to a new submission released from the Climate Council.
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said urgent reforms are necessary in order for Australia’s defence forces to deal with the vast and far-reaching impacts of climate change.
"The Australian Defence force will have to play an increasing role at home and in the Pacific as extreme weather events become more frequent and forceful. This requires more resources and strong planning. To bury our heads in the sand would risk not being able to cope effectively,” she said.
“When it comes to tackling this threat, Australia is at risk of being labelled Missing In Action, all while the UK and US militaries have spent years preparing for intensifying climate change, driven by the burning of fossil fuels.”
It comes after 2016 was named the hottest year on earth, smashing consecutive records set in 2015 and 2014, as a result of rising greenhouse gas levels from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Extreme weather events, such as bushfires, floods and cyclones have already become more intense.
McKenzie said the Climate Council’s recommendations span from military planning and operations, through to training, testing and acquisition.
“These recommendations have already been rolled out and implemented in the US and the UK. Australia cannot ignore these critical footsteps already taken by our strategic allies,” she said.
“We’ve even seen the fingerprints of climate change in Syria’s civil war. The country’s severe drought, which was exacerbated by climate change, contributed to instability in Syria.”
“This should serve as a warning signal for the Australian Defence Force. Australia and its military must be equipped and prepared in the face of worsening climate change.”
For more information please contact Climate Council Media Advisor Alexia Boland on 0430 511 068 and at [email protected].