03 May 2024

Climate-security risks too hot to handle for Australian Government


Register here for webinar.

by David Spratt

This week, the Australian Security Leaders Climate Group (ASLCG) released a new report, Too hot to handle: The scorching reality of Australia’s climate–security failure.

There will be a webinar on the report next Wednesday,  8 May at 6pm, and you can register here. I will be one of the speakers.

Ret. Adm. Chris Barrie, former head of the ADF and a member of the ASLCG Executive Committee says that: “It appears that the government either doesn't understand what our scientists are telling them, or they are deliberately hiding the facts from the Australian community. Facing down the climate threat will require unprecedented global cooperation, not a new arms race.”

Too hot to handle finds that:

  • Climate disruption now presents the greatest, and potentially existential, threat to society and human security in Australia and around the world.
  • Responding adequately to climate disruption is fundamental to the survival of the nation and the global community.
  • In understanding climate–security threats, the first and fundamental step is to holistically assess systemic climate risks and how they cascade and compound through physical and human systems.
  • This has not been done by Australian governments and left our nation with a poor understanding of the looming climate risks to human security, such that the government is not prepared to face global warming’s consequences and mitigate the risks.
  • Australia remains “missing in action” on climate–security risks, with climate downplayed to a cameo role in defence and security policy and planning.

A number of specific action recommendations are made. 

One feature of the report is a case study for northern Australia, where the government is pouring an extra $22 billion dollars into upgrading bases, even though climate projections show that within 40 years much of the north will experience "near unliveable" conditions.

Download infographic

Media stories of the report's release include: