If the Americans care about our arctic

This story should be a wake-up call for the Canadian policy makers that are still in the midst of fine-tuning the Canada First Defence Policy (CFDP). The influential Center for Naval Analyses cites climate change as a national security issue, and threat multiplier.

Their recommendations:

  1. The national security consequences of climate change should be fully integrated into national security and national defense strategies.
  2. The U.S. should commit to a stronger national and international role to help stabilize climate change at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability.
  3. The U.S. should commit to global partnerships that help less developed nations build the capacity and resiliency to better manage climate impacts.
  4. The Department of Defense should enhance its operational capability by accelerating the adoption of improved business processes and innovative technologies that result in improved U.S. combat power through energy efficiency.
  5. The Department of Defense should conduct an assessment of the impact on U.S. military installations worldwide of rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and other projected climate change impacts over the next 30 to 40 years.

While Canadian policy makers are still apparently debating whether we have a pressing need for an icebreaking capability in the North, and if so, who should operate it, our neighbours have decided that our melting arctic is an area of interest. Although the CF has recently conducted northern presence patrols, and the current government promised to pay more attention to the Arctic in its election platform, the continued delay of the CFDP leaves one to wonder how committed the current government is to the issue. For those that are interested, The Northern Dimension of Canada's Foreign Policy (published in 2000) is still available off the DFAIT website if you look carefully.