Climate change is not an environmental issue. How do I know this? In 2013, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, countless international security institutions, most recently the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute have called for aggressive agendas to control climate change. These organizations do not, on the face of it, care about environmental isseus. They care about economic prosperity and human security. What they are realizing, however, is that climate change is about more than damage to the planet.
The IMF and the World Bank care about climate change because they care about the impact it will have on global economic stability. A study by economists at the World Bank concluded that even if climate change is limited to a 2 degree celsius change, adapting to that change will cost the world about $100 billion a year – this is more money than all of the developed countries’ current foreign aid budgets combined. Nicholas Stern, former Wold Bank chief economist and UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, conducted a study for the UK government that found (i) the costs of climate change would be massive – in the order of 5% of global GDP- and (ii) the economic benefits of fighting climate change are far greater than the costs of dealing with climate change. Economists care about combating climate change because it is better for the economy to reduce climate change.
The Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, and similar institutes from other countries, care about climate change for different reasons. They care about the instability and security risks that a changing climate will cause. Their concerns are mass migrations form regions in Africa that will be most affected by climate change and wars over water in regions that will experience climate change induced drought.
These are not organizations that are looking for reasons to take on climate change. They have busy agendas, protecting the economy and human security. They are taking these positions on climate change because when they are assessing the most significant threats to the global economy and global security, they are finding that climate change is nearing the top of these lists.
So whether your concern is the environment, the economy or security, you all share something in common — you should be making sure that climate change is being reduced.