The Center for Climate & Security

Climate Security and the U.S.-Russia Summit

Bilateral meeting Putin-Biden, March 10, 2011

By Steve Brock and Roger Ullman

When Presidents Biden and Putin meet today on the shores of Lake Geneva they won’t be short of contentious topics to discuss. With the bilateral relationship at its lowest point since the Cold War, many have pointed to cooperation on climate change as rare common ground worth exploring in a meeting that will be dominated by multiple areas of serious disagreement.  The emergence of climate as an unlikely bridge is largely based on Putin’s surprising participation and cooperative tone at President Biden’s April Leaders Summit on Climate. Over the weekend, Putin told Russian State TV that there were “issues where we can work together” with the United States, including climate change. Posturing aside, a frank discussion about the importance of addressing climate change merits a place on their crowded agenda given the urgency of the global security implications outlined in the recent World Climate and Security Report 2021 from the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security. Establishing discourse on climate security can serve both sides’ summit objective to find paths of de-escalation in a relationship that’s precariously close to rock bottom. To the world, it would also signal that even adversaries locked in bitter, wide-ranging disputes can recognize there is no longer time to waste in finding ways to come together to meet a global existential threat. 

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EVENT: Jackson Hole Global Forum 2021: Climate Change and National Security

June 24, 2021

9 AM – 5 PM MT/11 AM – 7 PM ET

Register here.

The Center for Climate and Security is pleased to partner with the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs and Prime Movers Lab on the Jackson Hole Global Forum 2021: Climate Change and National Security. This virtual conference will bring together U.S. and global military leaders, security professionals, business executives, entrepreneurs, investors, policy leaders and citizens to advance understanding and action that responds to the security implications of a changing climate.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) will kick off a day of panel discussions on a range of security, resilience, and energy topics, many of which feature experts from the Center for Climate and Security. A more detailed agenda can be found here.

RELEASE: International Military Council Issues “World Climate and Security Report 2021” Warning of Catastrophic Climate Risks and Urging Significant Greenhouse Gas Reductions

June 7, 2021 —  Today the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) released its second annual World Climate and Security Report, which warns of the compound security threats posed by the convergence of climate change with other global risks, such as COVID-19. The report reveals that the increasing pace and intensity of climate hazards will strain military and security services around the world as they are called on to respond to climate-driven crises, while also facing direct climate threats to their own infrastructure and readiness. The authors also call on security institutions around the globe to act as “leading voices urging significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, given recent warnings about the catastrophic security implications of climate change under plausible climate scenarios.”

The report will be released during a virtual seminar at 10 AM ET/4 PM CET today (RSVP here:  http://bit.ly/WCSR2021) featuring senior climate security experts from NATO, the United States, the UK, and Europe, including NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges David van Weel, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO Rose Gotemoeller, Lt. Gen. Richard Nugee, UK Ministry of Defence, and Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Francois Bausch. 

UPDATE (8 June 2021). See a recording of the launch event below.

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Climate Security: A Tale of Two Defense Hearings

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Offutt-Air-Force-Base_battling_flood_waters_190317-F-IT794-1053-1024x684.jpg
An aerial view of Offutt Air Force Base affected by major flood waters March 17, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake)


By John Conger

Sometimes you want to hear from the very top, and sometimes you want to get into the details.  In the last couple of weeks, the U.S. Congress has done both, and each one teaches us something important about the way the Department of Defense (DoD) is planning to deal with climate change early in this Administration.

The first hearing described below included the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, covering a broad range of issues and setting the stage for the President’s budget release, which included      climate change as a priority.  The second addresses military infrastructure, which has been one of the key facets of the broader climate security portfolio within DoD.  It is the part of the climate challenge that has imposed the largest direct cost on DoD so far, and countering it also involves significant investment.  The second hearing gets into the details of this part of the portfolio.

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