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Special Report Issue 49 - Heavy weather: climate and the Australian Defence Force

By Anthony Bergin and Anthony Press and Eliza Garnsey

The report, authored by Anthony Press, Anthony Bergin, and Eliza Garnsey, argues that the downstream implications of climate change are forcing Defence to become involved in mitigation and response tasks. Defence’s workload here will increase, so we need a new approach.

Heavy Weather makes a number of recommendations including:

  • Defence should work with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency to establish an inter-agency working group on climate change and security. It would focus on addressing climate event scenarios for Australia and the Asia–Pacific  to manage the risks those scenarios pose to national resilience and regional stability.
  • Defence should appoint an adviser to the Chief of the Defence Force on climate issues to develop a Responding to Climate Change Plan that details how Defence will manage the effects of climate change on its operations and infrastructure.
  • Defence should audit its environmental data to determine its relevance for climate scientists and systematically make that data publicly available. It should set up an energy audit team to see where energy efficiencies can be achieved in Defence.
  • Australia should work with like-minded countries in the ‘Five Eyes’ community to share best practice and thinking on how military organisations should best respond to extreme weather events.

The recommendations aren’t about Defence having a ‘green’ view of the world: they’re about the ADF being well placed to deal with the potential disruptive forces of climate change.  

You can watch authors Anthony Bergin and Tony Press discussing this report here and here.