The recently established Australian Security Leaders Climate Group (ASLCG) says a whole-of-nation and security risk assessment is required.
The group includes current and former members of the Australian Defence Force and defense sector and security practitioners. Its leadership includes former Chief of the Defence Force Professor Admiral Chris Barrie AC (retd), former Deputy Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force Air Vice-Marshal John Blackburn AO (retd), former Defence Department Director of Preparedness and Mobilisation Adjunct Associate Professor Cheryl Durrant and former Australian Army Officer of 20 years MajorMichael Thomas (retd).
A security risk assessment would, the group says, help Australia to fully comprehend the scale, risk and impacts of climate change on the country and the wider region, including on social cohesion, energy security and import and export markets.
According to the group, the assessment should also outline a framework for how Australia can adequately respond to these threats.
ASLCG aims to make climate an immediate security priority in Australia through raising public awareness on the security threat of climate change, undertaking strategic research, developing policy recommendations and working with government and department officials to secure action on climate security threats.
“As ex-Service members and experienced practitioners of national and international security who have witnessed up-close the devastation of war and crisis, we recognize that climate change is a fundamental threat to the security and prosperity of all Australians,” said former Chief of the Defence Force Professor Admiral Chris Barrie (retd), “Across our region, climate change is an existential threat to many Indo-Pacific countries that are especially vulnerable to sea-level rise and extreme weather events. Yet Australia is ill-prepared for climate impacts, with climate-security risks not being fully assessed or understood. We are being left behind, with some of our closest allies already taking action.”