The Center for Climate & Security

New Book: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change

Recovery Efforts Continue In Hurricane-Ravaged Florida Panhandle

Debris litters Tyndall Air Force Base following Hurricane Michael on October 17, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. Many U.S. military bases are in locations vulnerable to storm damage and sea-level rise.

Tomorrow, November 12, Professor Michael T. Klare’s book “All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change” will be published. In advance of that publication, Professor Klare was interviewed by Rolling Stone to discuss it. Here are a couple excerpts:

The idea of ‘All Hell Breaking Loose,’ in the title of your book, what does that mean for the military?

They see their job as defending this country from foreign threats and that is what they are trained to do. ‘All Hell Breaking Loose’ is a condition they fear in which they will be unable to conduct that mission, to do their job, because they will be so caught up in protecting this country against climate change threats or addressing its impacts on other countries around the world that are collapsing because of the effects.

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Event: Climate and Security in the Sahel Region

Nigerian_farmersThis article was first published by Clingendael 

INTRODUCTION: The public meeting is organised by the Netherlands Atlantic Youth and study association BASIS. Speakers are Clingendael’s Senior Associate Fellow Tom Middendorp and ICCT’s Senior Research Fellow Liesbeth van der Heide. Register here.

Climate change is increasingly becoming a security issue

Drought, degradation and severe floods: climate change is increasingly becoming a security issue. The recent instabilities in the Sahel region, such as the uprisings in Mali and Nigeria and the civil war in Sudan, indicate a connection between climate change and security. (more…)

The Security Implications of Omitting Climate Change from Federal Water Availability Forecasts

Lake,_Drought_in_Oklahoma_—_Flickr_-_Al_Jazeera_EnglishBy Marc Kodack 

The U.S. Presidential Memorandum, Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West (October 19, 2018), directed the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior to “develop an action plan to improve the information and modeling capabilities related to water availability and water infrastructure projects…” The action plan was released last month and “defines individual and joint agency activities to improve the modeling and forecasting capabilities related to water availability and water infrastructure projects.” There is, however, a glaring omission. While there are three uses of the term “climate” in the action plan, “climate change” is not mentioned in the plan or any of its proposed or completed actions. Accurately forecasting water availability fails without integrating climatic change effects into those forecasts, particularly in the context of the climate-vulnerable Western United States. Ignoring this key influence on current and future water availability deprives federal agencies, including the Department of Defense (DoD), of critical information, leading to skewed strategic planning results with potentially significant consequences for national security. (more…)

Report: The Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent – A New Climate Security Governance Framework

R2P2 Climate Security Framework Report CoverA quick read of daily headlines makes it increasingly clear that current governance structures are not fully prepared for the security risks of a changing climate.  In response to these mounting risks, the Center for Climate and Security, an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks, is releasing a report calling for a framework for using our unprecedented foresight capabilities to anticipate and prevent the unprecedented security risks of climate change. Titled The Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent (R2P2): A Climate Security Governance Framework for the 21st Century, authors Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia identify three critical gaps in the international governance of climate security risks that have stalled preparedness and prevention.  The report also offers three concrete proposals for filling those gaps to make sure the world avoids the worst of these risks on the horizon. Click here for the full report, and see below for the Executive Summary.
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UPDATE: Chronology of U.S. Military Statements and Actions on Climate Change and Security: Jan 2017- Oct 2019

The_Pentagon

Since January 2017, at least thirty-five senior officials at the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) have publicly raised concerns about, and recommended actions to address, the security implications of climate change, both due to its effect on military infrastructure, readiness and operations, and its broader geostrategic implications for the United States. (more…)

General Castellaw on Devastating New Sea Level Rise Exposure Projections

New Sea Level Rise Projections for Basra

Sea level projections for Basra, Iraq. Source: Kulp, S.A., Strauss, B.H. New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding. Nat Commun 10, 4844 (2019)

A new study by Climate Central’s Scott Kulp and Benjamin Strauss, published in the prestigious Nature Communications, finds that populated coastlines around the world are three times more exposed to sea level rise than previously thought, which has the potential to almost completely inundate major coastal cities around the world. The potential security implications of the loss of these major coastal urban areas are enormous. In an article covering the new report, the New York Times spoke with the Center for Climate and Security’s Lieutenant General John Castellaw, US Marine Corps (Ret), about projections for the important coastal city of Basra in Iraq. From the article:

Basra, the second-largest city in Iraq, could be mostly underwater by 2050. If that happens, the effects could be felt well beyond Iraq’s borders, according to John Castellaw, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general who was chief of staff for United States Central Command during the Iraq War.

Further loss of land to rising waters there “threatens to drive further social and political instability in the region, which could reignite armed conflict and increase the likelihood of terrorism,” said General Castellaw, who is now on the advisory board of the Center for Climate and Security, a research and advocacy group in Washington.

“So this is far more than an environmental problem,” he said. “It’s a humanitarian, security and possibly military problem too.”

Read the full sea level rise study here.

 

Climate Change, Wildfires, the Military and Artificial Intelligence

Kincade_Fire_Spreads_(48953815948)

Kincade Fire, seen by NOAA’s GOES West on Oct. 24, 2019, covering 10,000 acres

By Marc Kodack

In the western United States, climate change is increasing the risk of wildfires, such as the ongoing Kincade Fire that is devastating northern California. This is in part because increased temperatures driven by greenhouse gas emissions are drying out available fuels for fires. As we’re seeing today, when ignition occurs under these conditions, fires can become extraordinarily challenging for local communities and first responders to manage. (more…)

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