Proponents of domestic and international global warming regulations like to argue that human-induced climate change could affect the safety of not only the U.S. but other countries as well. They suggest that global warming will lead to more natural disasters, which will in turn lead to increased global conflict.
Even the Department of Defense now considers climate change a threat to U.S. security. Exercises from the National Defense University concluded that “over the next 20 to 30 years, vulnerable regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia, will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change that could demand an American humanitarian relief or military response.”
But according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, that’s not the case. Halvard Buhaug, senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo’s Centre for the Study of Civil War and author of the study, said:
Climate variability in Africa does not seem to have a significant impact on the risk of civil war. If you apply a number of different definitions of conflict and various different ways to measure climate variability, most of these measurements will turn out not to be associated with each other.
My article points to the fact that there has been too much emphasis on single definitions of conflict and single definitions of climate. Even if you found that conflict, defined in a particular way, appeared to be associated with climate, if you applied a number of complementary measures—which you should do in order to determine the robustness of the apparent connection—then you would find, in almost all cases, the two were actually unrelated.
Worse, climate treaties to cap carbon dioxide emissions would do little to address climate change and a lot to cripple economic competitiveness. These treaties would limit the resources available to effectively prepare and respond to either natural disasters or national security threats. Carbon caps would cause energy prices to soar, and as a result, production would decrease, resources would become scarcer, and innovation and entrepreneurial activity would fall.
These are the sorts of conditions that could actually give rise to actual conflict.
Heritage’s nation security expert James Carafano testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last year that climate change is not a threat to national security. He stressed that “any changes in the climate, for better or for worse, will occur gradually over decades. Thus, there will be ample time to adjust national security and humanitarian assistance instruments to accommodate future demands. Those adjustments can and should be made with the most appropriate instruments, which might comprise any or all of the elements of national power including diplomatic, economic, political, and informational tools as well as the armed forces.” If the Obama Administration decides to fight this war on climate change and enter into a multilateral treaty to reduce CO2, the U.S. would ultimately lose, coming out of the battle with a weaker economy, weaker security, and weaker personal freedoms.