The Center for Climate & Security

Australian Defence Force Warns of Climate Crises

Australian Army Rescues Flooded Family

PHOTO: “Australian Army rescues flooded family” – The ADF has already identified climate change as a challenge to Australia’s future security. (RAAF/AAP: LAC Benjamin Evans)

According to a recent story in ABC News Australia, internal briefing notes from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in 2018 show an Aussie military with significant concerns about how climate change will impact security in the region. From the article:

One document warns that climate change could “exacerbate the potential for conflict” and contribute to “state fragility and the undermining of economic development in our immediate region”.

The briefing notes also highlight the lack of a strategy for dealing with these security risks.

The Defence Force admits in the documents it “does not currently have an overarching strategy or policy to specifically address the risks posed by climate change beyond the 2016 Defence White Paper”.

Click here for more.

Briefer: Latin America, Climate Change, Security and the Role of Regional Militaries

Oliver speaking 2

The Center for Climate and Security’s Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barret, U.S. Navy (Ret) delivers the keynote address at the CDEMA conference (Dec 13, 2018): “Climate and Security in the Caribbean Region: A Roadmap to Resilience.”

By Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barrett, U.S. Navy (Retired)

The Center for Climate and Security published several analyses this year explaining how climate dynamics have contributed to migration crises emanating from the Northern Triangle (i.e. Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) and Venezuela. See here and here. These crises continue to affect neighboring states, especially states that vulnerable populations perceive as offering greener pastures. Though the ways in which environmental trends affect at-risk populations is well known, how these trends affect national stability and security is largely underappreciated and under-discussed. More specifically, how climate-related trends might disrupt military capabilities and facilities, including military training ranges and bases, within contexts increasingly defined by the fallout of climate related/driven crises, has yet to fully permeate military thought and strategic planning. This article briefly explores the climate – security linkages within the Latin American context, and discusses what regional militaries need to do to stay ahead of strategic risks that put their effectiveness at risk.

To read the full briefer, click here.

Finding Consensus on Climate-Conflict Links

Climate-conflict expert elicitation

Experts enjoying a bit of levity in the midst of expert elicitation. Photo Credit: Woods Institute for the Environment.

By Cullen Hendrix

Today’s issue of Nature reports the results of an attempt to mine the scholarly debate over climate-conflict links for consensus using “expert elicitation.” The process, led by Katharine Mach of Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, brought together experts from economics, geography and political science to identify sources of agreement and disagreement in the now large body of evidence linking climate change to conflict – in this case, domestic armed conflict, like the ongoing civil wars in Syria and Yemen. (more…)

U.S. Policy-Makers Must Do More to Protect Intelligence Analysis from Political Suppression

Hearing on Climate and National Security_House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence_2019_6_5

Rod Schoonover (INR), Peter Kiemel (ODNI) and Jeffrey Ringhausen (ONI) testify on climate and security before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, June 5, 2019

As reported by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, Dr. Rod Schoonover, Senior Analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), former Director of Environment and Natural Resources at the National Intelligence Council, and one of the nation’s foremost experts on the security implications of climate change, has resigned voluntarily in the wake of unprecedented White House suppression of INR’s written intelligence analysis on climate and security, which was intended to be delivered by Dr. Schoonover to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on June 5, 2019. (more…)

Report Indicates Adversarial White House Climate Review Panel “Indefinitely Delayed”

SouthPorticoAccording to a story by Scott Waldman in E&E News today, the proposed White House/ National Security Council “adversarial” climate review panel has been “indefinitely delayed,” and will not sit before the Presidential election in 2020. Meaning it is effectively dead. Unless there is a reversal, this is good news for national security. Here’s a short history of the issue. (more…)

A Tribute to Dr. Janne E. Nolan

NolanTNIt is with great sadness that the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) mourns the passing of Dr. Janne E. Nolan, Founding Board Member of CSR, and Member of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board.

Janne was a strong proponent of practical, non-partisan solutions for anticipating, analyzing and addressing systemic and existential risks to security.  She played a major role in founding CSR in 2017, and contributed invaluable advice and expertise to the work of CSR’s Converging Risks Lab, Center on Strategic Weapons and Center for Climate and Security.

Janne was a pioneer and deeply-respected expert on nuclear security affairs, beginning with her seminal book “Guardians of the Arsenal: The Politics of Nuclear Strategy,” which influenced generations of scholars and policy-makers in the field. She also founded and chaired the Nuclear Security Working Group (NSWG) for many years – a formidable non-partisan network that inspired much of the work of the CSR. (more…)

Climate Change Threatening Military Bases Across Florida

Hurricane Damage to Hangar 5 at Tyndall Air Force Base_2019

Damaged ceiling of Hanger 5 at Tyndall Air Force Base early in 2019 – a result of Hurricane Michael [Tampa Bay Times photo by Tailyr Irvine]

In a recent Op-ed for the Tampa Bay Times, the Center for Climate and Security’s John Conger highlighted the climate change-related risks that are increasingly affecting the U.S. military in Florida, as well as the broader national security and defense implications of those risks. The piece begins:

Floridians know that climate change is endangering their health, prosperity and communities. A new hurricane season is a reminder that it’s also threatening America’s national security — beginning with military bases right here in Florida.

When Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle last fall, it devastated Tyndall Air Force Base. Winds of 160 mph ripped off roofs and damaged or destroyed nearly 700 buildings; 11,000 people had to relocate. Forty percent of the base’s F-22s were unready to fly and had to be stowed in hangars that could not protect them. Every plane was damaged.

(more…)

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