On November 17, the Center for Climate and Security released its new report, “The U.S. Asia- Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change,” in partnership with the Center for New American Security, the University of Oxford and the Carnegie Mellon University Civil and Environmental Engineering Program.
The release was accompanied by a thought-provoking panel discussion between senior leaders in the national security, defense and diplomatic communities, including Admiral Samuel Locklear III, USN (Ret.), Former Commander of U.S. Pacific Command; Sherri Goodman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership; Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security); Eric Schwartz, Dean, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota; Former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration; and Ellen Laipson, Distinguished Fellow and President Emeritus, Henry L. Stimson Center; Former Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council;
Caitlin Werrell, Co-Founder and Director of the Center for Climate and Security; and Lauren Herzer, Program Associate at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, provided opening remarks.
The report and the panel discussion explored ways in which the effects of climate change would both shape, and potentially be shaped by, the U.S. strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. Panelists spoke about their professional experiences dealing with climatic risks in the region from a defense, development, diplomacy and humanitarian perspective, while offering solutions for how the effects of climate change can be addressed in a strategic way. Echoing the report, panelists discussed a range of issues, including U.S. indispensability as a guarantor of regional stability (including its responsibilities in terms of HADR and DRR), the possible need for a region-wide climate and security engagement plan, utilizing military-to-military relationships to help facilitate preventive climate resilience solutions, adapting the broad network of U.S. military infrastructure in the region, and supporting existing and prospective allied and partner nations that are grappling with significant climate risks to their food, water and energy security.
With recent events in the Middle East, Eastern Ukraine and Europe, the United States will obviously remain committed to its Atlantic Alliance, and priorities in and around the European subcontinent, including stabilization of the Middle East and North Africa, counter-terrorism, and checking Russian revanchism. However, the national security leadership of the past two Administrations have made it very clear that due to rising powers, rising populations, and the rising economic dynamism of countries in the region, a U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific is necessary for maintaining U.S. global leadership. A key factor in this rebalance will be the risks and opportunities that climate change presents.
For a full video of the event at the Woodrow Wilson Center, see below. The
For a KTVU Fox 2 interview on the subject with with the Center for Climate and Security’s Co-Founder and Director, Francesco Femia, see below: