Climate Security and the Ukraine Crisis

Climate Security and the Ukraine Crisis

An unintended consequence of Russia's invasion of Ukraine is the light it's shined on the future of national security in the face of climate change. It has demonstrated the need to integrate "a climate security lens into foreign policy." According to analysis from the Center for Climate and Security, understanding the link between climate and security is essential for not just this crisis, but for the geopolitical future of the country. The war in Ukraine establishes two things: 1) the need to accelerate the clean energy transition, and 2) that global food security is in jeopardy.

CNN: Center for Climate and Security Director Erin Sikorsky Interview with - New Day, October 30, 2021.

Why This Matters

Climate issues are quickly becoming issues of immediate national security that the world’s leaders must respond to. Europe's dependence on Russian oil has become key in the Ukraine crisis and underlines the absolute necessity for climate security. While the US has banned all Russian oil imports, European leaders have agreed to significantly reduce Russian oil imports. The insecurity caused by needing to fill the gap to meet the bloc's energy needs could provide the necessary urgency to accelerate Europe's green transition. European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans hopes that "given a correct revision towards renewables, [he is] confident we can find that soon Russia will be depending on us, and not the other way round."

Climate And Global Food Security

The Ukraine crisis has demonstrated how close the world really is to food insecurity, reports CNN. Global health experts are worried that high oil prices are making fertilizer more expensive and that wheat supplies are now at risk. Russia and Ukraine supply 30% of the world's wheat supplies, and between lack of access to fertilizers and an active war, farmers will not be able to produce at normal levels. Countries in the Middle East, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa will be hit particularly hard, but the entire global food system will be affected.

Climate change is already impacting the breadbaskets of the world, and food shortages will produce global instability, providing yet another impetus for countries worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Center for Climate and Security: Crisis Crossroads Ukraine: Wartime Food Security, March 9, 2022.

Al Jazeera: How the Russia-Ukraine war is affecting global food supplies, March 10, 2022.

NASA: Climate Change Could Affect Global Agriculture Within 10 Years, November 1, 2021.

WW0: Facebook Live conversation on national security, climate migration and the climate crisis, September 9, 2020.