John Kerry will begin his term as the first climate change oriented Secretary of State on Friday, February 1, 2013. Based on comments he has made in his speeches, Kerry is expected to become the first climate change oriented Secretary of state, with China, Pakistan and India as early crisis points. China, for example, is in a catastrophic pollution crisis. According to a Jan. 31 article in the National Journal, Kerry is wise to consider negotiations to reduce pollution in China as a top national security issue. This is because climate change causes regional instability throughout the world and can ultimately cause regional wars and political tensions.
As early as last August, Kerry was comparing the threat from climate change to the threat of war. He said,
“I believe that the situation we face [with climate change] is as dangerous as any of the sort of real crises that we talk about” in Iran, Syria, and other trouble spots, he said.
Another crisis point related to global warming is glacial melting that feeds the Indus River. The glaciers are receding and this will reduce the amount of water that flows down the mountains, through India and into Pakistan. The Indus River then runs the length of Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. The river is essential to life and livelihood for millions of people in both nations, but some Indian leaders are considering damming the Indus River to hoard water supplies over the next few decades. If Pakistan finds its water supply cut off or significantly reduced, war could result. The Pentagon and the CIA are already nervous about the situation as it could eventually ignite a nuclear face-off between India and Pakistan.
This is just one of the climate change related situations that Kerry will face as Secretary of State. There is also "climate migration" that sends people across borders in search of life giving resources. Chinese pollution is affecting the U.S. and neighboring nations. According to a Jan. 30 NDRC Switchboard article, Kerry has already addressed that issue too,
“If we just sit around where we are today, we’re going to have a problem because China is soon going to have double the emissions of the United States of America. We’ve got to get those folks as part of this unified effort and I intend to do that.”
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the world is reacting to unprecedented changes in weather, including droughts, flooding, fires and violent storms. The resulting human migration, opportunistic invasions, international disputes over scarce water and spreading pollution have no respect for man made borders. As the nation's top diplomat, Secretary Kerry is wise to address geopolitical outcomes as the first climate change oriented Secretary of State.