Harvard University’s Center for the Environment recently released a new report titled “Climate Extremes: Recent Trends with Implications for National Security.” The report was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency, and drew from a series of workshops held at the National Academy of Sciences, Columbia University and Harvard University’s Center for the Environment. The resulting report explores what type of climatic events we can expect over the next decade, and how these events may impact U.S. national security interests. It includes a very extensive scientific assessment of current climate data observations and near-term climatic expectations, detailed examples of climate change intersecting with U.S. national security interests, and recommendations for bolstering U.S. scientific and technical capacity, and creating a national strategy for observations and monitoring.
The co-lead author, Michael McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at Harvard, did not mince words about the significance of the report’s findings. He notes on the Center for the Environment’s report release:
Lessons from the past are no longer of great value as a guide to the future…Unexpected changes in regional weather are likely to define the new climate normal, and we are not prepared.
The report is worth reading, and will likely be an important reference and foundation for future studies.