On Earth Day, Seeing Climate Change as a Defining Geostrategic Threat

Program Year: 2021

Earth Day is a good time to read these recommendations to U.S. President Biden from a taskforce on Southeast Asia policy, one of which is: “The U.S. must focus its attention on climate change as the defining geostrategic threat in the Indo-Pacific and work closely with Southeast Asian nations to help mitigate the damage. Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change and a growing source of greenhouse gases.”

Shortly after the new U.S. president was sworn in, a Southeast Asia Task Force assembled by The Asia Foundation released a noteworthy report, Urgent Issues in U.S.–Southeast Asia Relations for 2021. The report identifies challenges and opportunities for the new Biden administration and Congress for U.S. relations with Southeast Asia in the coming 12 to 18 months.

A busy port with cranes pulling shipping containers from ships.

Laem Chabang Port, the biggest and busiest port of Thailand. (Photo: antpkr / Shutterstock.com)

The nine members of the Task Force are scholars, analysts, and practitioners who work for think tanks, NGOs, business associations, and the private sector. Task Force members offer analytical expertise and experience in Southeast Asian countries. They examine challenges in the areas of security, trade and economics, infrastructure, and climate change, all in the context of evolving dynamics between the United States and China and the impact of Covid-19 on the region’s prospects.

Related programs: Regional and International Relations
Related topics: Earth Day