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213 This volume was the product of a year of collaboration and discussion among a new community of scientists, climate experts, and foreign policy and national security practitioners. As our work came to a close, Al Gore and the IPCC were awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to raise public awareness of climate change and its daunting implications for global security. Much has been made of the fact that the award was for peace rather than science or in some other field, but in awarding Gore and the IPCC the Nobel Peace Prize, the judges showed that they understood precisely what the stakes are when it comes to global climate change. Nothing could better underscore that the time is right: there is an urgent need to understand the nature of the climate change challenge and, more to the point, there is an urgent need for all Americans to appreciate the need for action to confront this global challenge. Our diverse group undertook a scenario exercise in hopes of reaching a better understanding of the consequences the world could realistically face from climate change across the range of plausible effects. Our intention was to influence the public debate about climate policy. We came away with considerable clarity in our own minds: the United States can expect that climate change will exacerbate already existing North-South tensions, dramatically increase global migration both inside and between nations (including into the United States), lead to increasingly serious public health problems, heighten interstate tension and possibly conflict over resources, collapse nine Conclusion: The Clear Implications of Global Climate Change KURT M. CAMPBELL AND RICHARD WEITZ 11100-09_CH09.qxd 5/8/08 12:45 PM Page 213 agricultural markets and global fisheries, challenge the institutions of global governance, cause potentially destabilizing domestic political and social repercussions, and spur unpredictable shifts in the global balance of power, particularly where China is concerned. The state of humanity could be altered in ways that create strong moral dilemmas for those charged with wielding national power, and also in ways that may either erode or enhance America’s place in the world. Taken together or even one at a time, some of these challenges have the potential to overwhelm national governments and international institutions. It is difficult to anticipate just how these cascading calamities might ultimately unfold, but the prospects for destabilizing global effects are clearly on the horizon. The overwhelming message is that early steps to limit or mitigate climate change are essential because later, longer-term efforts to adapt or anticipate may not be possible. As table 9-1 summarizes and this report makes clear, climate change has the potential to be one of the greatest national security challenges that this or any other generation of policymakers is likely to confront. Although our charge was to offer projections based on scientific modeling, rather than predictions, the expected climate change scenario in this report is appropriately named and can be taken as a minimum basis for planning. As John Podesta and Peter Ogden write in chapter 4, the environmental effects in this scenario are “the least we ought to prepare for.” National security implications include heightened internal and cross-border tensions caused by large-scale migrations; conflict sparked by resource scarcity, particularly in the weak and failing states of Africa; increased disease proliferation, which will have economic consequences; and some geopolitical reordering as nations adjust to shifts in resources and prevalence of disease. Oil and natural gas exporters might gain an upper hand, while energy importers will suffer geopolitically. All these things could cause the internal politics of nations to radicalize or destabilize.Across the board, the ways in which societies react to climate change will refract through underlying social, political, and economic factors. In the case of severe climate change, projected massive nonlinear events in the global environment give rise to massive nonlinear societal events. In this scenario, nations around the world will be overwhelmed by the scale of change and by pernicious challenges, such as pandemic disease and water and food shortages. The internal cohesion of nations will be under great stress, including in the United States, owing to a dramatic rise in migration, changes in agricultural patterns and water availability, and the pulling away of wealthier members of society from the rest of the population. Protests, 214 KURT M. CAMPBELL AND RICHARD WEITZ 11100-09_CH09.qxd 5/8/08 12:45 PM Page 214 The Clear Implications of Global Climate Change 215 Table...


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