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Climate Change, National Security Focus of Vermont Journal of Environmental Law Symposium Edition

Pakistan Humanitarian AidThis is a cross-post of a press release from the Vermont Law School

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt., June 10, 2014—On the heels of the Obama administration’s climate change plan announced last week and a recent government-funded report on climate change’s threat to national security, Vermont Law School’s Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (VJEL) explores the national security implications of a warming planet.

Released Monday and available online, “Rising Temps and Emerging Threats: The Intersection of Climate Change and National Security in the 21st Century” is a compilation of scholarship and remarks from VJEL’s 2013-2014 symposium of the same name, held last October at VLS. The publication includes articles by experts in climate science, international security, military law, and global migration.

“The symposium aimed to invigorate the growing national discourse on climate change by bringing together a variety of experts to discuss and debate pressing national security implications,” said Molly Gray ’14, VJEL symposium editor. “We are pleased to share their scholarly leadership in this edition of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law.”

“Across the globe, warming temperatures and dramatic shifts in climate continue to exacerbate water scarcity, desertification, and food security forcing global migration,” Gray said of the inspiration for “Rising Temps and Emerging Threats.” “Both sea-level rise and an increase in resource conflicts and humanitarian disasters threaten national security and the international community’s ability to respond.”

The VJEL symposium edition includes articles and remarks by national leaders in their field, including John Steinbruner of the Center for International and Security Studies, University of Maryland; D. James Baker of the Global Carbon Measurement Program, The Clinton Foundation; Alice Thomas of the Bacon Center for the Study of Climate Displacement, Refugees International; and Major Siddhartha M. Velandy of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, among other experts.

“The national security implications of a hotter world have been largely overlooked until now,” said Vermont Law School Professor Stephen Dycus, a pioneer in the field of national security and the environment. “Yet the global effects of climate change—rising sea levels, violent weather, and famine—are already beginning to spawn conflict that threatens the United States as surely as terrorism or nuclear proliferation. This VJEL symposium book, with articles by leading experts, is a major contribution to the search for solutions.”

The Vermont Journal of Environmental Law was founded in 1996 with support from Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center, the top-rated environmental law program in the nation. VJEL is a student-run organization that publishes quarterly articles on topics in the environmental field. For more information about VJEL, including downloading “Rising Temps and Emerging Threats” and other editions, visit or email


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