Corporate security and the climate crisis

How to adapt security and risk management policies - including IT security - to deal with climate change.

US military strategists, CIA analysts, international agency officials and Nobel Prize winning economists concur with the consensus of the world's scientific community: the Climate Crisis is a planetary security issue, as well as a national security issue for each of the one hundred ninety two countries that belong to the United Nations. But the Climate Crisis is also, by extension, a corporate security issue, as well as, yes, a cyber security issue.

Of course, not every national security issue is a corporate security issue; nuclear weapons proliferation, e.g., is a national security issue that does not demand a direct and meaningful response from all corporations in every sector and at every level, or the security professionals who are responsible for protecting operations, assets and work forces.

The Climate Crisis, however, does demand a direct and meaningful response for corporations. This response is demanded not just by imperatives related to corporate social responsibility, but also on the basis of risk management and security.

Consider some conclusions drawn, not by environmental activists, or even just by scientists, but by military leaders and economists:

According to one Pentagon report revealed in 2004, "climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters. 'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. (The Observer, 2-22-04)

In a 2005, Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist for the World Bank, warned that global warming could shrink the global economy by 20 percent, and that it would be cheaper to deal with the problem now than to deal with its consequences later.

In a 2007 report from an advisory board of retired generals and admirals said that "the effects of global warming, the study said, could lead to large-scale migrations, increased border tensions, the spread of disease and conflicts over food and water. All could lead to direct involvement by the United States military." New York Times, 4-15-07

Earlier this year, in the first such statement of its kind, one thousand seven hundred of the USA's most prominent scientists and economists joined in a call on policymakers to require immediate, deep reductions in heat-trapping emissions that cause global warming. Union of Concerned Scientists, 5-29-08

And a month earlier, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) issued its own study, which concluded that "if climate change is not slowed and critical environmental thresholds are exceeded, then it will become a primary driver of conflicts between and within states "if uncontrolled, climate change will have security implications of similar magnitude to the World Wars, but which will last for centuries." Reuters, 4-22-08

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