“The impacts of climate change are already tearing through our communities and undermining national security,” IPS Climate Director Janet Redman testified at the Democratic Platform Committee on June 9. “If we continue along our current path, increasingly extreme weather will have even higher costs in property and lives lost.”

Redman said that global warming exacerbates existing problems such as poverty, social tension, and governments’ ability to meet the basic needs of their populations. She used Syria as an example, pointing out that the most severe drought in modern Syrian recordkeeping preceded the 2011 unrest, pushing millions of people to relocate to urban centers.

“The resource strain helped exacerbate ethnic and religious tensions and fuel what has become a prolonged and  bloody conflict and migration crisis,” Redman said.

She said the U.S. has a moral imperative to show international leadership in the global security threat from climate change through multilateralism, cooperation, and mutual aid.

Greening our military and sending them into destabilized regions won’t solve the problem, she said.

Instead, “The most critical responses are non-military—reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home and support a just transition to clean energy, climate resilient economies in developing countries.”

Read Janet Redman’s full submitted testimony here [PDF].

Janet Redman directs the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies.