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The Climate Threat to the US Energy System

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Solar panels are tested during a NATO exercise in Hungary

In an article published in Defense One last week, Amy Myers Jaffe highlights the results of a March 2019 Council on Foreign Relations workshop with 44 experts (including the Director of the Center for Climate and Security, John Conger) titled “Climate Risk Impacts on the Energy System: Examining the Financial, Security, and Technological Dimensions.” The conversation was wide-ranging, exploring critical energy systems across both the civilian and military realms. On the military side of the ledger, the group raised serious concerns about the vulnerability of the Department of Defense’s energy supply to climate change-driven disruptions. In particular:

Workshop participants noted that resilient energy supply is necessary to meet the DOD’s core mission to defend the homeland. Climatic disruptions to domestic energy supply could entail huge economic losses and potentially require sizable domestic military mobilizations. The DOD concluded in a congressionally mandated 2018 study that over half of its 3,500 installations faced some sort of climate change exposure, such as hot weather days that prevent aircraft use or risk of wildfire where live ammunition is stored.

These conclusions echo those of the Center for Climate and Security’s 2018 “Military Expert Panel Report: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission, 2nd Edition,” which included maps detailing civilian-military energy infrastructure vulnerabilities to flooding from sea level rise and storm surge

Click here for the full article.


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