Urgent need for Australian climate security risk assessment: former security leaders


A new report detailing the rising global security risks of climate change demonstrates the urgent need for the Australian Government to undertake a whole-of-nation climate and security risk assessment, according to Australian Security Leaders Climate Group (ASLCG), a group of former Australian defence and security leaders.

World Climate and Security Report 2021, released today by the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS), covers the compound security threats posed by the convergence of climate change with other global risks, like COVID-19. It also examines the intensification of climate risks, with new disasters hitting before communities can recover from or adapt to previous ones.

“This new report reiterates that climate change presents a clear and present danger to our collective security. Climate change is already harmfully impacting security environments, infrastructure, institutions, lives and livelihoods,” Former Chief Of The Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie AC, (Retd), said.

“A growing number of world leaders, including US President Biden, are recognising that climate change is an existential security threat and prioritising action on climate and security.

“However, in our region we have yet to come to terms with climate security risks. Australia is being left behind our closest ally and European nations.

“The report underlines the need for countries around the world to immediately prioritise the security risks posed by climate change and urgently take action to mitigate against and address these risks.

“As former Australian defence and security leaders, we call on the Australian Government to commit to an urgent and comprehensive Whole-of-Nation Climate and Security Risk Assessment as a first step towards ensuring our nation can address the security risks posed by climate change with clear eyes and calm minds.”

The report was launched by David van Weel, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenge, Lt. Gen. Richard Nugee, Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy Lead for the UK Ministry of Defence, Sherri Goodman, Secretary General, IMCCS, and Gen. Tom Middendorp (Ret.), Chair, IMCCS.

The report also includes new tools for tracking climate security, including risk methodology and best practices, and identifies opportunities posed by the renewed US commitment to climate action and the momentum on climate and security from the EU and NATO.

ASLCG Executive members Air Vice Marshall John Blackburn, Royal Australian Air Force (Ret) and Dr. Michael Thomas, Officer, Australian Army (Ret) are participating members of the IMCCS.

Access the World Climate and Security Report 2021 here.


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