Greens Defence spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, provides the following comments on the release of the Senate Inquiry report into the ‘Implications of climate change for Australia's national security’.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Establishing this Inquiry was part of the Greens 2016 election policy platform. Not only does the Australian military play an increasingly important role in climate-related humanitarian and disaster relief in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, but with climate change expected to intensify extreme weather events such as fire and floods into the future, the defence forces will play an increasingly important role in defending our own communities from the dangers posed.
“There should be no doubt following this Inquiry and report findings that man-made climate change poses a clear and present danger to our country’s national security, on many levels, and that failing to act on tackling global warming presents a direct security risk, and fails to protect our nation’s future.
“For those in federal parliament blocking climate action, working for the fossil-fuel industry, your climate denialism makes you a real and dangerous threat to national security, and it's about time this was discussed as part of the public debate.
“The Greens strongly endorse the committee recommendation for the Government to establish a 'climate security' White Paper to delineate the full combination of climate-related security risks facing Australia and the region, and to better coordinate the military and non-military response to these increasing risks.
“What we have seen in this Inquiry is that the people at the top of both the Australian Defence Force and the Department or Home Affairs, take the increasing risks to national security from climate change deadly seriously. But the support they need from government is to be given the scope to address these challenges more proactively.
“The people who fronted this committee, from right across the defence community, engaged deeply with climate change science and were in no doubt that a warming world is a more dangerous world. We heard over and over that global warming is a threat multiplier and can be at the source of, or make worse, any conflict whether it is in nearby small-island states or in the Middle East.
“The Greens have provided a recommendation calling on the Government to plan and upgrade the ADF’s role and capabilities to provide equal priority to humanitarian, disaster relief and peacekeeping missions, alongside its warfighting functions. Alongside an increase in aid, we believe an expanded humanitarian and disaster relief capability is one of the greatest contributions Australia can make to peace and security in our region.
“What this Inquiry has brought home to me is that when people choose to engage with the climate science, without any partisan or ideological blinkers, they quickly understand the seriousness of the challenge and decide to act. We have seen that the Australian Defence Force is changing how it does things because it is taking climate change seriously, but we have a government that is doing nothing to reduce emissions to actually reduce the threat of climate change itself.
“The disconnect between the serious people in the ADF and the climate deniers in the federal government couldn’t be more stark,” he concluded.