Last week there was quite a bit in the news on climate and security issues. Here is a quick look at some of the headlines.
- President Obama is set to release the White House’s climate policy plans on Tuesday. Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, previewed some of strategies’ content at a forum hosted by The New Republic and American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies (a video of the event is available here). This is all following President Obama’s speech in Berlin where he noted that climate change was the “global threat of our time.”
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was also very vocal on climate change issues. He wrote an article in Grist noting that addressing climatic risks is “critical to survival of our civilization” and that “in every meeting, here at home and across the more than 100,000 miles I’ve traveled since I raised my hand and took the oath to serve in this office – I raise the concern of climate change.” It also featured prominently in Sec. Kerry’s remarks on U.S.-India Strategic Partnership, where he stated that climate change was “a matter of shared security for all of us.”
- The World Bank released a new climate change report, “Turn down the heat: climate extremes, regional impacts, and the case for resilience.” One major take-away from the report is the adjustment of the risk timeframe. The World Bank is no longer framing the risks as something in the distant future, but as a clear and present danger. The report finds “many significant climate and development impacts are already being felt in some regions, and in some cases multiple threats of increasing extreme heat waves, sea-level rise, more severe storms, droughts and floods are expected to have further severe negative implications for the poorest.” Here is a Washington Post summary of the report.
- The Center for American Progress released a new report that investigates federal investments in disaster resiliency and preparation vs. disaster response. Not surprisingly, it finds that the U.S. spends more on response than preparation. The issue briefing, Pound Foolish: Federal Community-Resilience Investments Swamped by Disaster Damages, is here. And a good summary, Report: Building resilience to climate-fueled extreme weather is ‘woefully underfunded’ is available on The Hill.
- This is older news but worth mentioning: the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars recently hosted an event, The Energy and Climate Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities for Transatlantic Security. The Hill wrote an article quoting one of the panelists, Daniel Chiu, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, on the role climate change is playing in shifting Pentagon policy and planning. A video of the full event is worth watching and is available here.