Authored by Evan Meltzer & Kareem Chin
Yesterday, leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) concluded the 39th annual G8 Summit in Northern Ireland and published a final communiqué detailing their commitment to addressing food security and climate change. These issues were two of many points raised at the Summit, which also touched on foreign policy, the global economy, and nuclear safety.
On food security, G8 leaders reaffirmed their promise to respond with urgency to achieve sustainable global food and nutrition security following monetary pledges made at the 35th G8 Summit. To achieve this goal, leaders called for advancing action in areas such as leadership, accountability, expansion, and deepening impact.
At the center of their focus was the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). This program seeks to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agriculture. In conjunction with CAADP, new partnerships in the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition will help encourage private sector investment for the program.
The communiqué dedicates one full page to climate change, in which the G8 leaders recognize “climate change as a contributing factor in increased economic and security risks globally” and stressed their strong commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions dramatically by 2020. One specific goal is to limit the increase in global temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
The G8 will pursue its action through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other international forums. Within the UNFCCC, G8 leaders will work to achieve a new protocol with legal force for all parties by 2015, expected to come into effect by 2020. Furthermore, the G8 leaders agreed to mobilize $100 billion of climate finance per year by 2020.
The American Security Project (ASP) shares a similar view on the future of energy. We recognize that our current reliance on fossil fuels is both harmful to the environment and to U.S. national security. In order to achieve both the goals outlined by the G8 and to ensure energy security, the United States should curb its dependence on oil and coal, increase consumption of natural gas as a “bridging fuel,” and further develop next-generation technologies such as fusion power, which is a sustainable and ultraclean energy source.
In regards to climate change, ASP believes climate change to be a threat multiplier for global security. According to the “Climate Change and Global Security” report, a changing climate worsens tensions related to water scarcity and food shortages. We also believe that inaction by the G8 and the United Nations on climate security issues in Africa has the potential to create the conditions necessary for increased instances of terrorism. ASP’s Global Defense Index on Climate Change identified that over 100 countries see climate change as a security risk.
The prominence of climate change and food security in the G8’s final communiqué of this year reaffirms the importance of these two issues to American national security and ASP will continue its efforts to highlight their relevance.