The Center for Climate & Security

Climate and Security Week in Review: June 11-18

Enterprise, Alabama native assists in Caribbean disaster response and security training

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Anna V. Blank at Exercise Tradewinds which provides 20+ participating nations the opportunity to improve security and disaster response capabilities in the Caribbean. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann.)

Here are a list of notable headlines and comments on climate and security matters from the past week. If we’ve missed any, let us know.

  • BREAKING – Barbados PM Mia Mottley announces she will be attending the OECS Summit in St Lucia next week; reiterates that re-engaging in deeper relations with the OECS is beneficial; the Summit will tackle issues such as climate change, security & regional cooperation via @KevzPolitics

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Climate Security and Presidential Constitutional Responsibility

SouthPorticoBy Bishop Garrison, Policy Fellow

In my recent essay for the UC Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, as well as a follow-on piece for Inkstick Media, I discussed why under the constitution the president has a responsibility to confront climate change. Climate change is having a true effect on the world, reshaping how we live and operate. Decades ago, the national security community identified climate change as a threat to our safety and operations. Recently, the Department of Defense reaffirmed its belief in this threat. If national security experts have identified this issue over years of study and debate, then the President of the United States has an affirmative duty under the constitution to protect against it. This analysis is taking from my essay. (more…)

Climate and Security Week in Review: June 4-10

Coast_Guard_participates_in_joint_Arctic_search_and_rescue_exercise_150714-G-YE680-576

Coast Guard participates in joint Arctic search and rescue exercise. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst

Here are a list of notable headlines and comments on climate and security matters from the past week. If we’ve missed any, let us know.

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RELEASE: Amidst Growing Nuclear and Climate Threats, A New Series of Reports Issues Warnings and Recommendations

Working Group on Climate Nuclear and Security Affairs Report TwoRELEASE: Amidst Growing Nuclear and Climate Threats, A New Series of Reports Issues Warnings and Recommendations

Washington, DC – Building on the success of its first groundbreaking report from 2017, today the Working Group on Climate Nuclear, and Security Affairs, a cross-sectoral group of distinguished nuclear affairs, climate and security experts chaired by the Center for Climate and Security, released a second report and series of briefers based on its 2018 deliberations. These short papers mark the first-ever step in exploring how to reduce emerging threats as nuclear trends, the effects of climate change, and underlying security dynamics collide in regions such as South Asia and the Middle East. Amidst growing nuclear and climate threats, this pioneering collaborative group has identified potential new and unexplored risks where these issues collide, and anticipatory solutions to those risks. (more…)

Pirates and Climate Change: A Dispatch From the Bangladeshi Sundarbans

Bangladesh_boat_and_bank_near_Mongla

Mongla, Khulna, Bangladesh

By Peter Schwartzstein, Research Fellow

In the Bangladeshi Sundarbans, pirate gangs are king. They commandeer small ships, and smuggle contraband to and from nearby India. They kidnap local fishermen for ransom – though they give foreigners and scientists a wide berth for fear of attracting too much attention. And they sometimes poach rare Bengal Tigers. Here, in the world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest, they move through the dense jungle thicket like it’s their own personal fiefdom.

Many of these bandit crews are fugitive criminals, seeking sanctuary – and big loot – beyond the state’s reach. No matter how hard security forces try, they’ve struggled to police this sprawling labyrinth of isolated waterways. But as with seemingly everything else in Bangladesh, there’s a climate change angle, too. With worsening conditions in many coastal communities, in large part because of stronger and more frequent climate-induced disasters, farmers and fishermen are upping sticks and trying their luck elsewhere. As tales of the pirates’ riches waft through the villages, a particularly desperate – and unprincipled – subset among them appear to have succumbed to the promise of easy pickings on the high seas. (more…)

Defense Department Reaffirms That Climate Change Is A National Security Issue

James_Mattis_Official_SECDEF_PhotoNotably though unsurprisingly, due to consistent expressions of concern about climate change from senior defense leaders over the past year, the Department of Defense (DoD) on Sunday reaffirmed its stance on the growing national security risks associated with a changing climate. In a statement to the Washington Times, DoD spokesperson Heather Babb noted:

The effects of a changing climate continue to be a national security issue with potential impacts to missions, operational plans and installations…DOD has not changed its approach on ensuring installations and infrastructure are resilient to a wide range of challenges, including climate and other environmental considerations.

The article also quotes the Center for Climate and Security’s Director, John Conger, who commented on the practical, mission-based rationale for the military’s concern:

There are mission reasons to do these kinds of things. … If sea level rise is going to impact infrastructure, if a runway gets flooded, that’s a mission impact and that’s the kind of thing you’ve got to pay attention to.

It’s not like they’re doing some altruistic thing…They’re not trying to be good about climate change. They just recognize the reality that’s in front of you.

Read the full article here.

Climate and Security Week in Review: May 28-June 3

Cox's_Bazaar_Refugee_Camp_(8539828824)_(cropped)

Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The camp is one of three, which house up to 300,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing inter-communal violence in Burma. Photo by Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Here are a list of notable headlines and comments on climate and security matters from the past week. If we’ve missed any, let us know.

  • Senate report on climate change and national security offers opportunities for Defence | Anthony Bergin | via @ASPI_org
  • Climate change is key security risk, says: ‘Ever more frequent extreme weather events will create new vulnerabilities.’ via @IISS_org

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