SECRETARY KERRY: Now, just as the Pentagon
has begun to view our military planning through a climate lens, ultimately, we have to integrate
climate considerations into every aspect of our foreign policy – from development and
humanitarian aid to peacebuilding and diplomacy. And that starts with getting a better understanding
of the complex links between climate change and national security.
Today I am pleased to announce that I will be convening a task force of senior government
officials to determine how best to integrate climate and security analysis into overall
foreign policy planning and priorities. For example, the strategic plans our embassies
use should account for expected climate impacts so that our diplomats can work with host countries
to focus on prevention – to proactively address climate-driven stresses on people’s
livelihoods, health, and security and to do it before it evolves into deep grievances
that fuel conflicts. Given the “threat-multiplier” effect we
have already observed in many places around the world, collaboration on climate risk assessment
should be part and parcel of every one of our diplomatic relationships, and we will
see to it that it is. We’re also working closely with the U.S.
Agency for International Development to improve our conflict early warning and prevention
capability. The U.S. Government currently employs state-of-the-art tools to help address
the fragility and risk of instability around the world. By overlaying an analysis of climate
vulnerability with those assessments, we think we’ll be able to better identify areas where
combined risks are particularly high and where there are critical opportunities for conflict
prevention and resilience before it is too late. And here’s the upshot: If we can better
identify “red flags” of risk around the world, we can better target our diplomacy
and development assistance in order to enable those nations to become more resilient, more
secure, and less likely to fall into a full-fledged war or humanitarian crisis.