Public discourse on Climate Change has been usurped by security interests intent on "winning" conflict over ever-declining resources and protecting wealthy countries from climate refugees. Winners-versus-losers framing will guarantee humanity's doom.
John Lennin sang of "all the world for all the people" in Imagine. Only planetary thinking comprehends the true scale of our self-generated danger.
Confronted with one of the greatest challenges our planet and its peoples have faced, our political leaders have clearly failed us. In stark contrast to the radical coordinated action to bail out banks and prop-up the financial system, governments have instead chosen to step aside, giving a free hand to the markets and the fossil fuel giants, rather than daring a carefully planned conversion of our carbon-based economies. Their choice is not one of inaction, as is often suggested, but one of actively ensuring dangerous climate change.
It is a tragic irony that discussions about stopping or preparing for global climate change (known as mitigation and adaptation in UN language) have now been upstaged by demands for reparations and growing concern, not least in the insurance industry, about who or what is going to pay for the damage inflicted by climate change.
Far from prompting mass action, fear and insecurity is apparently prompting people to turn off and tune out in droves, or to seek solace in conspiracy theories. This apathy is being exploited by those who welcome – or at the very least are looking to profit from – the politics of insecurity and what the Pentagon has dubbed “the age of consequences.” Across the world and often behind closed doors, securocrats and military strategists are engaging in ‘foresight’ exercises that – unlike their political masters – take climate change for granted and develop options and strategies to adapt to the risks and opportunities it presents.
The military and the intelligence community's willingness to take climate change seriously has been often uncritically welcomed by some in the environmental community; the agencies themselves say they are just doing their job. The question very few people are asking is: what are the consequences of framing climate change as a security issue rather than a justice or human rights one?
... participants in these new climate war games need not speak candidly about what they envisage, but the subtext to their discourse is always the same: how can states in the industrialised North – at a time of increasing potential scarcity and, it is assumed, unrest – secure themselves from the ‘threat’ of climate refugees, resource wars and failed states, while maintaining control of key strategic resources and supply chains.
The industries that thrive off the ugly realpolitics of international security are also preparing for climate change.
... the climate security discourse is also helping fuel the investment boom in high-tech border-control systems, crowd-control technologies, next generation offensive weapons systems (like drones) and less-lethal weapons. It should be inconceivable that democratic states are equipping themselves in this way for a climate-changed world ...
It is not just the coercive industries that are positioning themselves to profit from fears about the future. The commodities upon which life depends are being woven into new security narratives based on fears about scarcity, overpopulation and inequality.
The climate security discourse ... is predicated on winners and losers – the secure and the damned – and based on a vision of ‘security’ so warped by the ‘war on terror’ that it essentially envisages disposable people in place of the international solidarity so obviously required to face the future in a just and collaborative way.
... we must ... reclaim the climate adaptation agenda from one based on acquisition through dispossession and the self-interested security agendas of the powerful to one based on universal human rights and the dignity of all people. [emphasis mine]