According to the center’s report, which was published Monday, “even at scenarios of low warming, each region of the world will face severe risks to national and global security in the next three decades.”
“Higher levels of warming will pose catastrophic, and likely irreversible, global security risks over the course of the 21st century,” the report adds, noting that such risks include destabilization of countries’ economies, regional inequality, negative effects on civil and military infrastructure and “ethno-nationalist responses” and conflicts over water resources.
The researchers also found that even at low levels of warming, “dry and arid regions, least-developed countries, small island states, and the Arctic polar region” will become even more vulnerable. Due to the fact that such areas are involved in “significant military engagement,” continued warming will likely destabilize them.
The report also found that industrialized regions of the world will experience “catastrophic effects,” “high levels of migration” and a “breakdown of key infrastructure and security institutions” due to global warming.
In addition, the researchers warn that even the emissions levels set by the Paris Climate Agreement, which was created within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015 so that countries could set limits on their greenhouse gas outputs, are not enough to prevent such catastrophes from occurring.
“Without concerted efforts at both climate change mitigation and adaptation, we risk high impact and catastrophic threats to our collective and national security,” the report warns.
The researchers also predict that average global temperatures will increase by between 2.3 and 4.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
“Even if all existing climate policies are implemented, we are on track to increase global temperatures by as high as 3.2°C by the end of the century,” the report warns.
Given the report’s findings, the researchers recommend “quickly reducing and phasing out global greenhouse gas emissions,” calling on the world to achieve net-zero global emissions as soon as possible. In addition, the world must adopt “climate-proof environments, infrastructure, institutions, and systems on which human security depends, and so we call for rapidly building resilience to current and expected impacts of climate change,” the reports notes.
The researchers also urge the US to renew its efforts to respond to climate security threats.
The analysts’ urging for the US to take renewed action comes after the US in November 2019 notified the United Nations that it was exiting from the Paris Climate Agreement. The Trump administration first announced that it was planning on withdrawing from the agreement in 2017, claiming that the deal undermines America’s economy and job growth and would result in declines in coal mining and other industries related to natural resources.
In September 2019, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also warned that the consequences of climate change would be “sweeping” and “severe.” The panel’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate revealed that oceans are getting warmer and more acidic due to increased absorption of carbon dioxide, and their concentration of oxygen is lowering. The report also noted that ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets has contributed to rising sea levels, which will increase by 1.1 meters by 2100 if emissions continue at their current rate. Without dramatic decreases in greenhouse gas emissions, the frequency of hurricanes and flash flooding will continue to grow, the report warned at the time.