US, China: A Green Security Blanket?
The security implications of climate change offer promising areas of cooperation between the US and China. Both countries agree on the potential damaging effects of climate change as well as on the need for coordinated international responses. However, US defense planners have not fully recognized the many benefits to be gained by cooperating with China on this front. Given the scale of the problem, a US-China climate security partnership could dwarf existing military cooperation and help stabilize the bilateral relationship.
Global climate change threatens to increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Mitigating and adapting to these effects has significant security implications that defense ministries have only begun to acknowledge. The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) noted that “While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.”