According to a startling briefing that was given to federal MPs, Australia needs to get ready for “devastating” climate-fueled upheaval in the Asia Pacific area. This disruption may include failed governments, forced migration, and regional conflicts over water shortages.
In a letter aimed at members of parliament, the think tank known as the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration has provided a synopsis of the various dangers and effects that may result from the climate issue.
In light of the fact that the results of a recent threat assessment conducted by Australia’s Office of National Intelligence (ONI) have been classified, Breakthrough is attempting to stimulate political discourse on the magnitude of the issues that are now being faced.
According to a study that will be published on Thursday by the thinktank, the ONI assessment “is likely to have said that the world is dangerously off track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, the risks are compounding, and the impacts will be devastating in the coming decades.”
According to what is stated in the study, “in the Asia-Pacific region, states will fail,” and the effects of climate change would “drive political instability, greater national insecurity and forced migration, and fuel conflict.”
“There will most likely be a further retreat to authoritarian and hyper-nationalist politics, along with the diminution of instruments of regional cooperation, as well as increased risks of regional conflict which includes over shared water resources from Himalayas & Tibetan Plateau, encompassing India, Pakistan, China, and south-east Asian nations.”
In the memo, which was prepared by Breakthrough research director David Spratt, it is acknowledged that it is difficult to make projections due to the fact that the physical impacts of climate change and the changes at the system level “compound and cascade” in a manner that is nonlinear.
“What we do know is that there will be outcomes that virtually no one will see coming, such as what happened when drought and desertification in eastern Syria compounded with the dynamics of the Arab Spring to unleash the Syrian war.”
According to the article written by Spratt, it is conceivable to construct “a sketch of some plausible outcomes before mid-century in the Asia-Pacific region,” despite the fact that the repercussions are still unknown.
They may include severe jolts to the economy brought on by war and the relocation of workers, as well as the “inundation and destruction of economic infrastructure” and the “disruption to supply chains, including in the South China Sea.”
The paper suggested “a devastating of extreme as well as concurrent climate events which leaves impacts beyond the response capacity of national governments.” This could result in China taking on a larger role in responding to events that occur in vulnerable states, “especially as Australia’s disaster relief capacity is underfunded and overwhelmed,” as stated in the previous sentence.
It was agreed upon by Professor Andy Pitman, who is the director of Australian Research Council Centre for the Excellence for Climate Extremes at the University of New South Wales, that “tipping points” should be taken into consideration.
According to scientific literature, ” risk of several global-scale tipping points being triggered this century has increased,” as Pitman put it. “Given the magnitude of the consequences for Australia, it is essential to incorporate these risks into a national risk assessment.”
The study made a comparison between the strategy followed by the United States government and that of the Australian government, which had commissioned an “urgent” climate threat assessment to be carried out by ONI after the 2022 election but had not yet made it public. An intelligence assessment of climate security threats has been produced by the administration of Vice President Joe Biden.
The think tank in the United Kingdom came to the conclusion in 2021 that the cascading effects of climate change will “drive political instability, devastating, as well as greater national insecurity, & fuel regional and international conflict.”
Spratt demanded that the ONI study be made public and questioned how members of parliament could be responsible for regulating climate, defence, and foreign policy without being informed of the results.
Additionally, Breakthrough cast doubt on the government’s intentions to finish a separate national climate risk assessment by the year 2024.
The senior member of the Breakthrough advisory board, Ian Dunlop, stated that “We have run out of time… This is the most significant issue that anyone in the world is facing right now, and yet it is being treated as though it is merely another political stroll in the park.
“There is a danger that the climate risk assessment will focus on the detail but miss the big global picture,” said Chris Barrie, a former chief of Australian defence force, who is now an executive member of Australian Security Leaders Climate Group.
According to Barrie, “the climate change-fueled heatwaves and fires that are raging in the northern hemisphere, as well as a potential El Nio summer here at home, should be driving the Australian government to urgently face up to the security and devastating threats that climate change poses to our nation.”
The chapter that was included in the government’s defence strategic review that was made public in April featured a warning that the demand placed on the Australian Defense Force (ADF) for humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions was increasing due to climate change.
In response to a question about whether or not the review took into account the ONI assessment, the Department of Defense stated that the reviewers “had access to a range of material to perform their analysis at both a classified and unclassified level.”
Richard Marles, the current minister of defence, has stated in the past that climate change will have an devastating effect on the structure of the armed forces. He predicted that there would be “greater tension” as a result of the limited resources.