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Release: Planned Executive Order on Climate Security Scrapped, but Assault on Science Agencies and National Security Continues


Carried by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a team of scientists investigate how a melting Arctic affects the ocean’s chemical and biological makeup – NASA image acquired July 12, 2011

Washington, DC, February 24, 2019 – According to a Washington Post article published today, the planned Executive Order establishing a Presidential Committee on Climate Security, or PCCS, has likely been scrapped – at least in its initial form. This is probably due to the extraordinarily negative public response to the idea following an initial Washington Post article on the PCCS published on February 20 (wherein the Center for Climate and Security strongly criticized the proposed federal advisory committee). However, the National Security Council intends to move forward more quietly and less publicly with an internal, ad hoc group of scientists designed to provide an “adversarial” peer review of recent climate change findings by the federal science agencies, including the National Climate Assessment – a process that seeks to undermine scientific findings, as opposed to evaluate their soundness, and then feed that into national security policy. Presumably due to withering criticism from the security community in the wake of the initial report, recent intelligence agency assessments are exempt from scrutiny under this new working group (Department of Defense reports may be as well, though the Washington Post article does not make that clear).

Given that both the intelligence and defense communities rely on the sound and rigorously peer-reviewed climate change findings of the federal science agencies in order to do their jobs, the continuation of the committee under this new guise continues to present a real risk sound national security judgment. In that context, Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (Ret), Advisory Board member with the Center for Climate and Security, former Oceanographer of the Navy, and former Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told the Washington Post today:

“I never thought I would live to see the day in the United States where our own White House is attacking the very science agencies that can help the president understand and manage the climate risks to security of today and tomorrow,” said Titley, who sits on the advisory board of the Center for Climate and Security, a nonpartisan group focused on climate-related risks. “Such attacks are un-American.”

In a note to the Center for Climate and Security, Admiral Titley also stated:

Our defense and intelligence agencies are full of fact-driven, science-driven patriots. Our defense and intelligence analysts critically rely on U.S. government scientists to understand the risks our nation faces.  Truthful assessments of the risks stemming from a changing climate are as fundamental as clear-eyed assessments of any other security risk. Bottom line:  If our science agencies are under assault, our national security is at risk.

He continued:

Bullying the civilian science agencies will not magically stop climate change.  Climate change is a risk to our security that gets worse with time if not understood and managed.  Our civilian science agencies need to be supported and not assaulted in their efforts to serve our country.

In response to the news, John Conger, Director of the Center for Climate and Security, stated:

I’m glad to hear our intelligence personnel will still be allowed to provide their unaltered judgment on the threats posed by climate change, but it would be deeply troubling if our nation’s scientists aren’t allowed to provide theirs.
He added:
Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis said ‘climate change is a challenge that requires a broader, whole-of-government response.’  To attack the government’s scientists and their judgment only serves to weaken that whole-of-government response, to mask the risks to our military forces and infrastructure, and increase their vulnerability.

In short, suppressing science compromises our national security.

Contact: John Conger, Director, the Center for Climate and Security; jconger at climateandsecurity dot org

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Vlad Fomin says:

    Hello! In my opinion, Climate security – in the Northern Hemisphere – may be due to the reasonable provision of correction for the totality of ocean currents in the North Atlantic. Moreover, there is – the interrelation of the characteristics of the Arctic and their changes – as a consequence of the correction of the currents in the North Atlantic. At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the relief of the bottom in the Atlantic, the depths of the current locations, their parameters, interaction with changes in atmospheric flows, surface waves (including Rossby Waves), coastal structures, and so on.
    My colleague – Maria Kan (Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana) – conducted a thorough study of the totality of data on the real parameters of the North Atlantic … for the potential possibility of correcting ocean currents – and – ensuring climate security – both for North America and for the northern part of Eurasia . Moreover, Maria Kan proposed a number of simple technologies, the implementation of which will allow changing the parameters of currents in the North Atlantic and ensuring the required climate security.
    Unfortunately, colleague Maria Kan is a very modest girl … and – refrains from publishing her work … at least because she studies only on the 4th year of the University in Astana.
    I hope that by the summer of this year – a colleague Maria Kan – will be able to start publishing her works … extremely important for humanity …
    Thank you for attention; Yours faithfully – Vlad Fomin.

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