Climate change threatens national and global security


Koichi Iwasaki

A man is standing and giving a presentation about climate change
Rear Admiral David Titley, Ph.D., presents a lecture on climate change. Photo by Koichi Iwasaki/the Gateway

Climate change issues have been discussed for a few decades at all levels, both domestic and international, and every nation has signed international environmental agreements like the Kyoto Protocol.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) annually holds Conference of the Parties (COP). In the third COP, the Kyoto Protocol has been issued and all developed countries ratified the protocol, except for the United States.

Although the U.S. government tends to disregard environmental problems, people in the U.S. have been already awakened. UNO hosted Rear Admiral United States Navy (USN), David Titley, Ph.D., an affiliate professor at Penn State University to present on climate change issues that can affect national and global security.

Titley at first explained basics of climate change by suggesting quite difficult algebra calculations, concluding that the climate temperature has risen. In addition, he said glaciers around the Arctic are melting due to the temperature increase. He pointed out the melting of Arctic glaciers “negatively affects our national security” because Greenland could possibly become an independent state, which means the U.S. military radar should be removed.

Titley also said that melting glaciers around the Arctic provide a more convenient sea lane to not only countries facing the ocean, but also China because “we can trade faster and cheaper if we go through the Arctic Ocean.” He added that the Arctic Ocean has plenty of resources, with China paying very close attention to the region, which, he pointed out, could create a conflict between the U.S. and China in the Arctic.

As Titley indicated, climate change can create negative issues which can directly affect U.S. citizens’ lives.

Attendee Donna Walter was surprised that only 10% of people pay attention to environmental issues, and 80% of people do not care about the issues.

“That’s very concerning,” Walter said. “We need to get the 10% believing it to be a larger number,” Walter said.

She said she tries to conserve resources by hesitating to drive more than necessary, and she strongly believes “we can take actions individually.”