The Cost of Inaction...



The effects of climate change in the world’s most vulnerable regions present a serious threat to American national security interests. As a matter of risk management, the United States must work with international partners, public and private, to address this impending crisis. Potential consequences are undeniable, and the cost of inaction, paid for in lives and valuable U.S. resources, will be staggering. Washington must lead on this issue now.

Countries least able to adapt to or mitigate the impacts of climate change will suffer the most, but the resulting crises will quickly become a burden on U.S. priorities as well. Both the Department of Defense and the State Department have identified climate change as a serious risk to American security and an agent of instability. Without precautionary measures, climate change impacts abroad could spur mass migrations, influence civil conflict and ultimately lead to a more unpredictable world. In fact, we may already be seeing signs of this as vulnerable communities in some of the most fragile and conflict-ridden states are increasingly displaced by floods, droughts and other natural disasters. Protecting U.S. interests under these conditions would progressively exhaust American military, diplomatic and development resources as we struggle to meet growing demands for emergency international engagement.

It is in our national interest to confront the risk that climate change in vulnerable regions presents to American security. We must offer adaptive solutions to communities currently facing climate-driven displacement, support disaster risk reduction measures and help mitigate potential future impacts through sustainable food, water and energy systems. Advancing stability in the face of climate change threats will promote resilient communities, reliable governance and dependable access to critical resources.

We, the undersigned Republicans, Democrats and Independents, implore U.S. policymakers to support American security and global stability by addressing the risks of climate change in vulnerable nations. Their plight is our fight; their problems are our problems. Even as we face budgetary austerity and a fragile economic recovery, public and private sectors must work together to meet the funding demands of this strategic investment in internationally-backed solutions. Effective adaptation and mitigation efforts in these countries will protect our long-standing security interests abroad.


Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State 1997-2001
Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State 2001-05
Samuel Berger, National Security Advisor 1997-2001
Sherwood Boehlert, US Congressman (R-NY) 1983-2007
Carol Browner, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency 1993-2001
Michael Castle, US Congressman (R-DE) 1993-2011, Governor (R-DE) 1985-92
GEN Wesley Clark, USA (Ret.), Fmr. Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO
William Cohen, Secretary of Defense 1997-2001, US Senator (R-ME) 1979-97
Lt Gen Lawrence P. Farrell, Jr., USAF (Ret.), Fmr. Deputy Chief Of Staff for Plans and Programs, HQ USAF
BG Gerald E. Galloway, Jr., P.E., Ph.D., USA (Ret.), Fmr. Dean of the Academic Board, US Military Academy
Wayne Gilchrest, US Congressman (R-MD) 1991-2009
James Greenwood, US Congressman (R-PA) 1993-2005
VADM Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.), Fmr. Inspector General of the Department of the Navy
Lee Hamilton, US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99, Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
Gary Hart, US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita E. Hauser, Chair, International Peace Institute
Carla Hills, US Trade Representative 1989-93
Thomas Kean, Governor (R-NJ) 1982-90, 9/11 Commission Chair
GEN Paul J. Kern, USA (Ret.), Fmr. Commanding General, US Army Materiel Command
Richard Leone, President, The Century Foundation 1989-2011
Joseph I. Lieberman, US Senator (I-CT) 1989-2013
Richard G. Lugar, US Senator (R-IN) 1977-2013
VADM Dennis V. McGinn, USN (Ret.), Fmr. Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs
Donald McHenry, US Ambassador to the UN 1979-81
Constance Morella, US Congresswoman (R-MD) 1987-2003, US Ambassador to OECD 2003-07
Sam Nunn, US Senator (D-GA) 1972-96
John Porter, US Congressman (R-IL) 1980-2001
Tom Ridge, Secretary of Homeland Security 2003-05, Governor (R-PA) 1995-2001
ADM Gary Roughead, USN (Ret.), Fmr. Chief of Naval Operations
Warren Rudman, US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92, Fmr. Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
Christopher Shays, US Congressman (R-CT) 1987-2009
George Shultz, Secretary of State 1982-89
Olympia J. Snowe, US Senator (R-ME) 1995-2013
GEN Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.), Fmr. Chief of Staff, US Army, Chairman, CNA Military Advisory Board
Timothy E. Wirth, US Senator (D-CO) 1987-93
Frank Wisner, Undersecretary of State 1992-93
R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence 1993-95, Co-founder, US Energy Security Council
GEN Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), Fmr. Commander in Chief, US Central Command

Related News & Events

December 4, 2013: Capitol Hill Event: A Changing Security Landscape - U.S. Military Response to the Next Emerging Challenge
Speakers: BG Gerald Galloway, Jr., P.E., Ph.D., USA (Ret.); VADM Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.), GEN Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.)

March 8, 2013: Capitol Hill Event: George Shultz, Fmr. Sec of State, Addresses Policymakers on Capitol Hill for the First Time in 20 Years
Speaker: George Shultz, Secretary of State (1982-1989)

February 25, 2013: Capitol Hill Event: Thirty-Eight Leading U.S. National Security Experts Urge Washington to Act on International Climate Change Initiatives
Speakers: Wayne Gilchrest, former Congressman (R-MD); R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence

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May 20, 2013: Senator Boxer Reads PSA's Bipartisan Statement on Climate Change Threats to National Security on Senate Floor

May 9, 2013: The Coming War Over Climate Change (National Journal)

April 3, 2013: US Experts Say Climate Change is Threat to National Security (The International)

March 12, 2013: Straight Talk on Climate Change from GOP Icon (Refugees International Blog)

March 11, 2013: Letter Shows Bipartisan Agreement on Climate Change (Summit County Citizens Voice)

March 9, 2013: Editorial: Tom Ridge Ups Credibility on Climate Change (Erie Times)

March 9, 2013: George Shultz Says Climate Change Urgent (The Epoch Times)

March 8, 2013: George Shultz Presses Congress to Act on Climate Change (New York Times)

March 8, 2013: Reagan's Former Secretary of State Backs Carbon Tax (CQ News)

March 8, 2013: What Would 'the Gipper' Do? Support a Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax--George Shultz (E&E News)

March 5, 2013: Republican George Shultz to Urge Congress to Act on Climate Change (San Francisco Gate)

March 3, 2013Interview with VADM Dennis McGinn, Vice Chairman of CNA's Military Advisory Board, on Climate Change & National Security (Sirius XM's POTUS)

February 28, 2013: Congressman Earl Blumenauer Submits PSA's Bipartisan Statement on Climate Change Threats to National Security Into the Congressional Record

February 27, 2013: U.S. Security Establishment Increasingly Worried about Climate Change (Inter Press Service News Agency)

February 27, 2013: U.S. Generals Warn of Climate Change Dangers (Responding to Climate Change)

February 26, 2013: Tom Ridge: 'Climate Change is a National Security Threat' (Patriot News)

February 26, 2013: Defense Experts Say Costs of Climate Change Could Be Staggering (E&E News)

February 26, 2013: Push to Address Climate Change (POLITICO)

February 25, 2013: Bipartisan Group of Former Officials, Lawmakers Say Warming is a Security Issue (E&E News) 

February 25, 2013: Press Release: Thirty-Eight Leading U.S. National Security Experts Urge Action on International Climate Change Initiatives