The Center for Climate & Security

Event: UN Security Council Meeting on Climate and Security

UN_security_council_2005The UN Security Council (UNSC) is hosting an “Arria” meeting today titled ‘Preparing for the security implications of rising temperatures.’ Click here for the livestream at 3pm EST, and here for the official announcement. The meeting, co-hosted by Italy, Sweden, Morocco, the UK, the Netherlands, Peru, Japan, France, the Maldives and Germany, aims to facilitate a practical discussion about the tools the UN requires to address the security implications of climate change. Briefers for the meeting include Halbe Zijlstra, Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Caitlin Werrell, Co-founder and President of the Center for Climate and Security (CCS). Caitlin Werrell, at the invitation of the meeting’s co-hosts, will be presenting its Responsibility to Prepare agenda framework for elevating international attention to the security implications of climate change. The framework calls for the climate-proofing of all security institutions at international, regional and national levels. (more…)

New Report: Action on Climate and Security Risks

Action on Climate and Security RisksLast week, a new report was released by the Planetary Security Initiative (PSI), a multi-organization consortium including the Center for Climate and Security, and coordinated by the Netherlands’ Clingendael Institute. The report, titled Action on Climate and Security Risks, reviews global progress made to date on addressing the security implications of a changing climate. The review includes both significant concerns, and reasons for optimism. From the announcement:


Takeaways from Sri Lanka Event: Climate Security in South Asia

Colombo Daily News 2 Dec 2017

Colombo Daily News, December 2

By Rachel Fleishman, Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific, The Center for Climate and Security

On November 30 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, I participated in an event titledClimate Change and Resources Security: Challenges for Security and the Security Sector in South Asia” – convened just as Cyclone Ockhi hit Sri Lanka’s southeastern coast.* The storm provided a somber backdrop for the discussions. In his opening remarks, Sri Lanka’s Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Kapila Waidyaratne reported 7 killed and hundreds displaced. By the end of the session the confirmed death toll was 11, with more than 3000 having been evacuated.

Anyone seeking a fast-forward view of climate impacts need look no further than South Asia. Asia as a region has the dubious distinction of being the most at risk from climate stress. South Asia is particularly ill-placed, because of both global meteorological patterns and the presence of massive populations living in poverty, often lacking adequate infrastructure or adaptive capacity. In his opening remarks, conference host and Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka Director General Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, revealed that one of the primary contributions the Institute is making to Sri Lanka’s 2030 strategic plan, focuses on the security implications of climate change. It’s not difficult to understand why. Below is a recap of the climate and security themes covered in this important conference, as well as four key takeaways. (more…)

Twitter Climate Security Diplomacy

UnderseaCableInternetIt is not news that Twitter, for better or worse, has reached a new level of prominence in the political dialogue. As part of this new landscape, The Atlantic Council hosted a virtual “Twitter Town Hall on Nordic Contributions to Global Security” where people could submit questions directly to five Nordic country ambassadors to the US: Karin Olfsdotter of Sweden, Geir H. Haarde of Iceland, Kåre R. Aas of Norwary, Lars Gert Lose of Denmark, and Kirsti Kauppi of Finland. The Center for Climate and Security took the opportunity to ask the ambassadors a question on climate and security (naturally), and the ambassadors responded. The climate and security portion of the discussion is copied below, and the full town hall discussion is available on Twitter at #AskNordicAmbs. Thank you to the Atlantic Council and the ambassadors for the opportunity. (more…)

BRIEFER: Sea Level Rise and Deterritorialized States


Kwajalein Atoll

By Collin Douglas, Research Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security

Excerpt: The definition of a state in modern international law has four requirements: a permanent population, a government, the ability to interact with other states, and most important for this context, a defined territory. The prospect of rising seas making low-lying island states uninhabitable, or completely submerged, puts the territorial requirement in jeopardy. However, there are historical examples of flexibility in state control of territory.

Read the full briefer here.



Defense Bill Passes with Climate Change and National Security Provision

800px-United_States_Capitol_Building-_west_front_editEvery year since 1961, the U.S. Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act – or the NDAA, as it’s known in acronym-obsessed Washington. The bill essentially determines which agencies are responsible for defense, establishes funding levels, and sets policies under which money will be spent. Last week, the U.S. Congress passed the FY2018 NDAA, and sent it to the President for signature. He is expected to promptly sign it. Interestingly, this year’s NDAA, among many other things, says something loud and clear about climate change: there is a bipartisan majority in Congress that accepts climate change is a “direct threat” to national security, and that the Department of Defense (DoD) must have the authority to prepare for it.

In response, John Conger, Senior Policy Advisor with the Center for Climate and Security, noted in an interview with the Washington Examiner: (more…)

Event: Security & Climate Change in the Pacific

Members_of_the_Papua_New_Guinea_Defense_Force_prepare_to_embark_aboard_the_Royal_Australian_Navy_landing_ship_heavy_HMAS_Tobruk_(L50)What: Security & Climate Change in the Pacific: From Asia to the United States,” panel discussion followed by audience Q&A
IISS-Americas and the Center for Climate and Security
When: November 28, 10:00-11:30am ET
Where: 2121 K Street NW, Suite 801, Washington, DC
RSVP: Click here.

Summary: Since the George H.W. Bush administration, the US security community has recognized the national security threats of climate change. These high-probability, high-impact threats have remained a priority area for action within Congress and the Department of Defense. The Asia-Pacific region is acutely vulnerable to the security impacts of climate change. A range of underlying security fragilities and geostrategic tensions will be shaped by increasingly frequent and severe disasters, impacts to coastal infrastructure and populations, sea level rise altering maritime boundary delimitations, greater food insecurity, and irregular migration flows. This discussion, featuring high-level experts from the Center for Climate and Security, will explore these risks, how US military installations, operations, and strategies in the region may be shaped by them, and their influence on US bilateral and multilateral relationships.


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