The Center for Climate & Security

Forecast: Climate Change and Security in the 116th Congress

Rain_on_Capitol_HillBy John Conger

One of the most tangible successes on climate change during the 115th U.S. Congress was the firm establishment of a bipartisan consensus that climate change is a direct threat to national security.  In fact, Congress voted in 2017 to say exactly that and the President signed the bill into law.  Senior military officials echoed this sentiment on multiple occasions, but the Department of Defense has been cognizant of the risks it faces from climate change for many years. So what does all this mean for the 116th Congress? Here are three initial observations. (more…)

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs: Climate change a source of conflict around the world

General_Joseph_F._DunfordAt an event hosted by Duke University’s Program in American Grand Strategy, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, responded to a question on climate change from a student in the audience. Here’s what he said (beginning at 1:23:56 here):

When we look at, when I look at, climate change, it’s in the category of sources of conflict around the world and things we have to respond to. So it can be great devastation requiring humanitarian assistance/ disaster relief, which the U.S. military certainly conducts routinely. In fact, I can’t think of a year since I’ve been on active duty that we haven’t conducted at least one operation in the Pacific along those lines due to extreme weather in the Pacific. And then, when you look at source of conflict – shortages of water, and those kind of things – those are all sources of conflict. So, it is very much something that we take into account in our planning as we anticipate when, where and how we may be engaged in the future and what capabilities we should have.

General Dunford joins a growing list of 18 other senior military leaders appointed by the current President who have identified climate change as a security risk that is affecting the U.S. military, and that the U.S. military is dealing with.

Click here to watch the entire event with General Dunford.

Climate and Security Week(s) in Review: Oct 22-Nov 4


Germany UN Security Council Climate Security Expert Group 2018, Photo By Germany UN

Here are a list of notable headlines and comments on climate and security matters from the past several weeks. If we’ve missed any, let us know.

  • Nov 4 -Watching – The Climate and Security Podcast: Episode One with John Conger via @CntrClimSec


The Climate and Security Podcast: Episode One with John Conger

Podcast_John CongerWe are thrilled to announce the launch of The Climate and Security Podcast!

In the inaugural episode, host Dr. Chakraborty talks to the Center for Climate and Security’s Director, the Honorable John Conger, about the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) view of climate change impacts on current and future military missions, and its role as a “threat multiplier.” Viewers will hear about how multi-billion dollar budgets fall short of the enterprise-wide need of a trillion+ in installation related costs from the unique perspective of a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, and former Principal Deputy Comptroller at the DoD. (more…)

Towards climate resilient peacebuilding: Understanding the complexities

MINUSMA Civil-Military Cooperation

MINUSMA Conducts Civil-Military Cooperation Activities. Photo: Flickr/UN Photo/Harandane Dicko

By Karolina Eklöw and Dr Florian Krampe

In 2017 there were 63 active peace operations—of which 13 were UN Peacekeeping operations. Many of these have been in place for decades, some even half a century, like those missions in Israel and Palestine or in Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Of course, the challenge of such peacebuilding missions is not only to stop violence and prevent a rekindling of conflict, but moreover to help societies and governments reset their internal relations on a peaceful path towards sustaining peace.

In the short run, considering many interacting processes seems exhausting and admittedly complicated. It might be tempting to dismiss environmental issues when considering the seemingly insurmountable task of building peace after armed conflict. Yet, it is increasingly clear that the interaction between social, political and ecological processes decisively shape the post-conflict landscape. Often, the capacity of peace operations and post-conflict states to navigate the impacts of war and simultaneously govern natural resources is limited. But, an increasing body of research and policy experiences shows that in the long run it can be rewarding. Actually, there appear to be ecological foundations for a socially, economically, and politically resilient peace, although too often this potential remains unrealized in most peacebuilding processes. (more…)

Army Training and Doctrine Command Says Climate Change Will Shape Future Operating Environment


U.S. Army Service members return toU.S. Virgin Islands to assist with disaster relief operations in response to hurricanes Irma and Maria, Sept. 23, 2017

By John Conger

As the U.S. Army prepares troops for the future of warfare, it has, without question, a lot on its plate.  Complicating that picture for the Army is climate change. The Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), which as its name implies is responsible for overseeing training and operational doctrine development for the Army, affirmed at a recent conference that it sees climate change as a key factor influencing how and where the Army will fight.

As reported by the Army Times: (more…)

IRIS Interview with Sherri Goodman on Climate, Security and the DoD

GoodmanMemeHow climate change challenges the US Department of Defense

Interview with Sherri Goodman, Senior Advisor for International Security at the Center for Climate and Security, Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and CNA, and former President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

Interviewed by Alice Baillat and Bastien Alex, research fellows at IRIS, on 4th October, 2018. Original interview available here.

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