Hard rain - Climate as a security issue

17 May 2005
"There is no military solution to climate change" - a comment attributed to Colin Powell, former chair of the US Joint Chiefs - runs in the ticker across the top of this debate.

Others from a military background are equally sober, including former US Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Wes Clark, who sent out an e mail yesterday linking to a "virtual march" on Washington to "stop climate change", and US Senator John McCain.

Today, openDemocracy publishes an article on some of the hard security challenges presented by climate change. John Ashton and Tom Burke are seasoned environmentalists who have seen action inside government and industry. (Neither nurses ambitions to be US president, so far as we know!). They conclude:

"We have mobilised on the necessary scale in the past when the threat or opportunity has been clear. It is a challenge more to our wisdom than to our ability, more to our values than to our resources, more to our aspirations than to our fears".


Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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