General Ron Keys Talks Climate Change and Security in Iowa

Ron KeysRetired four-star Air Force General Ron Keys, member of CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board (MAB), and our own Advisory Board, is in Iowa this week talking about the risks and opportunities associated with a changing climate. This comes on the heels of a landmark report release from the MAB, titled “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.”

Yesterday, General Keys spoke with “Iowa policy-makers and agriculture leaders” about climate change impacts on crop production, stating:

“That’s what we mean when we talk about a catalyst for conflict…When people don’t have enough to eat, when people don’t have enough water, when people don’t have a way to make a living, then they start to move or the[y] start to be activists…or the government can’t support them any longer and so you have, perhaps, radicals taking over certain areas of the world.”

Today, General Keys will speak at the opening of Iowa’s largest solar farm in Kalona. In advance of that, General Keys penned an Op-Ed for The Des Moines Register. In it, he talks about the effect climate change and a dependence on oil has on U.S. military infrastructure and operations, and how the military is addressing those issues. He states:

The military has long been looking for ways to reduce demand, diversify supply and advance the use of renewable options both here at home and on the battlefield. In recent wars, transporting and protecting access to fuel supplies has put our troops in greater danger. Historically, our dependence on oil has tied our nation to troubling regimes in parts of the world that are neither the most stable nor the most friendly to American interests.

These are all good reasons to look for solutions now.

There is another challenge, too: As a senior officer with responsibility for military installations around the world, I saw the beginning effects of climate change as long-term droughts and flooding began to threaten bases and training ranges. Extreme weather events were a wake-up call, showing what can happen as storms get stronger and weather patterns change.

Today, the Department of Defense is analyzing plans for at least 30 bases, posts or ports in the face of predicted sea-level rise that may make some unusable — more good reasons to look for solutions now.

Follow us on Twitter @CntrClimSec for more on General Keys’ visit to both Kalona and Camp Dodge (where he’s discussing efficiency with the Iowa National Guard).

On the Hill Today: Sherri Goodman on Climate Change and the Federal Budget

800px-United_States_Capitol_Building-_west_front_editSherri Goodman, Executive Director of the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board (that just released a major new report on climate change and national security) will be speaking before the Senate Budget Committee today at 10:00AM ET. According to the committee website, the hearing, titled “The Costs of Inaction: The Economic and Budgetary Consequences of Climate Change,” will explore: “how climate change is not only an environmental and economic challenge, but also increasingly a fiscal challenge, and will examine how failing to mitigate the risks associated with climate change will affect the U.S. federal budget.” Click here for the full details of the hearing (including the full roster of participants), and stay tuned for both a video of the testimonies, and links to the written submissions.

Creating Climate-Secure Water-Sharing Treaties

Sudan_Nile_agriculture_LandsatIn light of the recent news of armed bandits demanding water in India, and on-going water tension in Iraq and Syria, we are cross-posting the below post from Thomas Currant at the New Security Beat titled “Climate Change Will Test Water-Sharing Agreements.” The post looks at a working paper by a group of researchers at the World Bank, “Climate Change, Conflict, and Cooperation: Global Analysis of the Resilience of International River Treaties to Increased Water Variability.”  Neil Bhatiya, with The Century Foundation, also wrote a good summary of the working paper, “Designing an Ideal Water-Sharing Treaty.”  (more…)

Former DOD Official Sharon Burke: Climate is Military’s New Foe

Sharon Burke_Katherine Hammack_listen to a brief_Experimental Forward Operating Base 2011 at Marine CorpsIn case you missed it, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, Sharon Burke, wrote a compelling article for CNN titled:  “US Military’s New Foe.” After four years in this important role at the Department of Defense (and years of working on these issues prior to holding that position), Burke’s insights are a particularly compelling addition to this discussion. In the article, Burke details the various ways in which climate change presents a threat to the U.S. military, including direct impacts on military bases (more…)

RELEASE: The Center for Climate and Security Encouraged by Congressional Testimonies on Climate Change and National Security

U.s._capitolRELEASE: The Center for Climate and Security Encouraged by Congressional Testimonies on Climate Change and National Security

Washington, D.C. — The Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a policy institute with an Advisory Board of retired senior military officers and national security experts, is encouraged by testimonies delivered today at a Congressional hearing titled “U.S. Security Implications of International Energy and Climate Policies and Issues.” CCS Co-Directors Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell stated: “Today’s testimonies reinforce the fact that our military and national security leaders are taking climate change very seriously. Policy-makers on both sides of the aisle should take note.” (more…)

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