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