The Center for Climate & Security

Implementing the Biden Administration’s Climate Executive Order – The Defense Climate Risk Analysis

President Biden at the Leaders Summit on Climate – 22 April 2021

By Erin Sikorsky

Today marks an important milestone in the execution of the Biden Administration’s climate security strategy. In accordance with the Executive Orders on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration, the White House, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Director of National Intelligence have just released four key reports: The Defense Climate Risk Analysis; an unclassified summary of the National Intelligence Estimate on the Security Implications of Climate Change; Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration; and a Department of Homeland Security Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate Change

Together, these reports paint a sobering picture of the security risks posed by climate change, exploring not only the direct threats posed by climate hazards to human security, critical infrastructure, and military readiness, but also the secondary threats that emerge when climate effects intersect with other factors such as poor governance, existing state fragility, or violent extremism.  

On November 17, 2021, the Center for Climate and Security will hold a virtual seminar discussing these reports and where the Biden Administration goes next. RSVP for this session, Analysis to Action: Advancing Climate Security in the Biden Administration here.

We will also will publish a series of posts examining each report in depth over the next week. Today, we begin with a look at the Defense Climate Risk Analysis.


Climate Change and Health Featuring CSR’s Andrea Rezzonico

On October 18, Andrea Rezzonico, Deputy to the CEO and Deputy Director of the Converging Risks Lab, was featured on the Jacobs Sparks Podcast alongside Dr. Nino Kharaishvili, Global Solutions Director of Health Systems Governance at Jacobs.

In the interview, Andrea and Dr. Kharaishvili discusses the intersection of climate change and global health issues, including: the importance of One Health; the intersections of climate and health impacts such as infectious diseases and pathogen spread; how these risks converge with other security challenges — culminating in complex emergencies; the need for government and private sector collaboration to address these convergences, and more.

This conversation is part of CSR’s broader effort to address the climate, health, and security nexus. CSR supports numerous initiatives aimed at bolstering our understanding around climate change, ecological disruption, biological hazards and threats, and security intersections as well as strengthening related policy and response mechanisms. Incorporating a converging risks lens is critical to adequately prepare for future crises – especially in light of the current global health emergency.

Tune into the episode here.

RELEASE: The Council on Strategic Risks Significantly Expands Its Ecological Security Program

October 20, 2021 — To fill an urgent gap in understanding and addressing the security implications of global ecological disruption, the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) has significantly expanded its Ecological Security Program over the past months, with the help of a grant of close to $1 million from the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation. The program, housed within CSR’s Converging Risks Lab, addresses all elements of global ecological disruption, including biodiversity loss and beyond, caused by drivers such as habitat change, direct (and often illegal) exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution, and the spread of damaging invasive or otherwise destructive organisms. 

Ecological disruption–from the loss of biodiversity and their ecological benefits that support life or through the emergence of new ecological harms–remains largely absent from the agendas of the U.S. and international security communities. This absence persists despite its profound implications for political instability, geopolitical clashes, food and water stress, mass displacements of people, and other adverse security outcomes.


Climate Security Fellows Report 2021

By Esther Sperling

These are unprecedented times. The world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, while democracies and economies around the globe are tested. Through it all, climate change is destabilizing natural and social systems, and driving new security risks. It has never been more important to engage the next generation of leaders on addressing these systemic risks.

The Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG), a project of the Center for Climate and Security, founded the Climate and Security Fellowship to do just that. The 2019-2020 Climate and Security Fellows are a distinguished group of professionals, all with one thing in common: a desire to address the security threats of climate change. They are emerging leaders in their respective fields of study and bring the necessary diversity of perspectives and backgrounds to address such wicked problems.

A self-selected group of Fellows wrote briefers on emerging climate security vulnerabilities. Each chose a topic that they felt was underrepresented in the current literature and deserved further examination. Our hope is that these briefers will spark a broader conversation on these vital security concerns.

I want to thank the Climate and Security Advisory Group for their support and thank all of the climate and security experts who briefed this cadre of fellows including: Hon. Sharon Burke, Hon. John Conger, Col. Mike Gremillion, USAF, Hon. Sherri Goodman, Dr. Rod Schoonover, and Joan VanDervort. Congratulations to the 2019-2020 class of Fellows. We look forward to watching their careers progress, and to their guidance of the next generation of leaders!

Esther Sperling, Co-Founder and Program Director, CSAG Climate and Security Fellowship Program

Read the report here.

The opinions expressed in this report are of the authors and do not reflect the positions of the affiliated organizations.

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