Climatic Cataclysm: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Climate Change

Overview

Global climate change poses not only environmental hazards but profound risks to planetary peace and stability as well. Climatic Cataclysm gathers experts on climate science, oceanography, history, political science, foreign policy, and national security to take the measure of these risks.

The contributors have developed three scenarios of what the future may hold. The expected scenario relies on current scientific models to project the effects of climate change over the next 30...

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Climatic Cataclysm: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Climate Change

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Overview

Global climate change poses not only environmental hazards but profound risks to planetary peace and stability as well. Climatic Cataclysm gathers experts on climate science, oceanography, history, political science, foreign policy, and national security to take the measure of these risks.

The contributors have developed three scenarios of what the future may hold. The expected scenario relies on current scientific models to project the effects of climate change over the next 30 years. The severe scenario, which posits a much stronger climate response to current levels of carbon loading, foresees profound and potentially destabilizing global effects over the next generation or more. Finally, the catastrophic scenario is characterized by a devastating "tipping point" in the climate system, perhaps 50 or 100 years hence. In this future world, the land-based polar ice sheets have disappeared, global sea levels have risen dramatically, and the existing natural order has been destroyed beyond repair.

The contributors analyze the security implications of these scenarios, which at a minimum include increased disease proliferation; tensions caused by large-scale migration; and conflict sparked by resource scarcity, particularly in Africa. They consider what we can learn from the experience of early civilizations confronted with natural disaster, and they ask what the three largest emitters of greenhouse gases —the United States, the European Union, and China —can do to reduce and manage future risks.

In the coming decade, the United States faces an ominous set of foreign policy and national security challenges. Global climate change will not only complicate these tasks, but as this sobering study reveals, it may also create new challenges that dwarf those of today.

Contributors include Leon Fuerth (George Washington University), Jay Gulledge (Pew Center on Global Climate Change), Alexander T. J. Lennon (Center for Strategic and International Studies), J.R. McNeill (Georgetown University), Derek Mix (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Peter Ogden (Center for American Progress), John Podesta (Center for American Progress), Julianne Smith (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Richard Weitz (Hudson Institute), and R. James Woolsey (Booz Allen Hamilton).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The authors provide an imaginative and worthwhile examination of what could turn out to be the greatest threat to our nation's security." — Tom and Jerry Blog

"This important volume, edited by a leading figure in the foreign policy establishment, makes an eloquent argument for why today's decision-makers have no choice but to act on the coming dangers of global climate change." —G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

"This disturbing, prophetic volume should be widely read." — CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815713326
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,212,650
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Kurt M. Campbell is CEO and cofounder of the Center for a New American Security. He served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia and the Pacific in the Clinton administration. Before that, he taught at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and served in the Navy. His books include Hard Power:The New Politics of National Security, written with Michael O'Hanlon (Basic Books, 2006).

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
National Security and Climate Change in Perspective   Kurt M. Campbell   Christine Parthemore     1
Can History Help with Global Warming?   J. R. McNeill     26
Three Plausible Scenarios of Future Climate Change   Jay Gulledge     49
Security Implications of Climate Scenario 1: Expected Climate Change over the Next Thirty Years   John Podesta   Peter Ogden     97
Security Implications of Climate Scenario 2: Severe Climate Change over the Next Thirty Years   Leon Fuerth     133
Security Implications of Climate Scenario 3: Catastrophic Climate Change over the Next One Hundred Years   Sharon Burke     155
A Partnership Deal: Malevolent and Malignant Threats   R. James Woolsey     169
Setting the Negotiating Table: The Race to Replace Kyoto by 2012   Julianne Smith   Alexander T. J. Lennon     191
Conclusion: The Clear Implications of Global Climate Change   Kurt M. Campbell   Richard Weitz     213
Contributors     225
Index     227
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