Rabe comments on new U.S. climate and security task force in VOA

November 12, 2015

In the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference in December, the U.S. will organize a task force to incorporate climate and security analysis into its foreign policy agenda.

Secretary of State John Kerry announced the new group at a speech in Norfolk, Virginia this week.

“By fueling extreme weather events, undermining our military readiness and exacerbating conflicts around the world, climate change is a threat to the security of the United States, and indeed, to security and stability everywhere,” he said.

In an interview with Voice of America, CLOSUP Director Barry Rabe said that the task force would raise the profile of climate change in U.S. foreign and military policy considerations.

“It probably means initially a more systematic effort to try to take climate impact and conditions into account when deciding how feasible it is for the U.S. to become involved in various foreign policy issues [and] what challenges American military and services personnel literally might be facing when deployed or stationed abroad,” he said. 

The U.S. also committed to amending the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty aimed to phase out production of ozone-depleting substances. Rabe pointed out that these actions echo successful bans on refrigerants and spray can accelerants enacted in the late 70s.

"What the Montreal arrangement has focused on at this point is actually building on an earlier environmental success story," said Rabe.

Barry Rabe is the J. Ira and Nikki Harris Family Professor of Public Policy at the Ford School and the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Environmental Policy in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan. He is the director of the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy (CLOSUP).