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RELEASE: Can Climate Change Increase the Risk of Nuclear Conflict?

The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) Releases a Video Series Exploring the Complex Linkages Between Climate Change, Nuclear Energy, and Nuclear Weapons

Washington, D.C., October 28, 2020 —  A new video series from CSR’s Converging Risks Lab examines two of the gravest threats to global security today: nuclear detonation risks and climate change. One poses the potential for immediate catastrophe, the other, a perhaps slower but comparable destructive force. In the post-Cold War era, nuclear dangers and climate change present major existential risks to society, but their convergences are complex and require experts to navigate multiple silos of experience. Understanding the connections among climate and nuclear trends, and how they might interact with other security risks, is critical for national security and policy planners as well as the broader general public.

The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) launched a program in 2016—the Climate-Nuclear-Security Project (CNSP)–to explore the many ways climate change, nuclear, and security affairs are interacting around the world. In order to understand the diverse and complex relationships among these three issue areas, CSR assembled a multidisciplinary Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs. Its members included thought leaders with wide-ranging experiences in defense, diplomacy, business, academia, journalism, and international organizations. Over the past few years, the Working Group has held several workshops to develop a framework for considering these complex linkages and a clear path for reducing their converging risks.

The new series of explainer videos, produced by CSR’s multimedia team with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, bring together leading national security experts with divergent perspectives to share their views in response to a series of questions about the impact of climate change on nuclear proliferation, the potential consequences of the opening of the Arctic region for nuclear conflict, and the critical role of Russia in promoting climate change and nuclear nonproliferation. The videos are designed to be accessible to a broader audience and are useful for raising awareness among the general public and supplementing classroom lesson plans.

The first video explores complex linkages across climate change, Arctic sea melt and new sea routes, prospects for conflict, competition, and cooperation within the global order, and any new risks associated with nuclear weapons. Conflicts between nuclear powers and competition for control over the region are likely to destabilize the global order, putting more pressure on the fabric of the nuclear order.

Watch the first video on Climate Change, Arctic Sea Melt, and Nuclear Deterrence on CSR’s You Tube or below.

Direct inquiries to: 

  • CSR news media contact: Francesco Femia, ffemia at csrisks dot org, Whatsapp: +1-571-263-5691 

Follow us on Twitter: @CSRisks

###About the Council on Strategic Risks. The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) is a nonprofit, non-partisan security policy institute devoted to anticipating, analyzing and addressing core systemic risks to security in the 21st century, with special examination of the ways in which these risks intersect and exacerbate one another. The Climate-Nuclear-Security Project (CNSP) is part of CSR’s Converging Risks Lab.

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