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In Case You Missed It: A Summary of the Latest Climate Science Information (and Its Security Implications)

By Patrick Gruban (originally posted to Flickr as UN Security Council)[CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Dr. Marc Kodack

In case you missed it, the World Meteorological Organization brought together multiple entities, including United Nations-affiliated organizations and others, to publish their collective information on the latest climate science at the end of the summer. Each organization wrote one or more chapters. The overall messages from these chapters include that greenhouse gases continued to increase in 2020 from 2019 despite a small reduction in the increase because of the COVID-19 pandemic; Paris Agreement greenhouse has emissions goals are not being met; the sea level is rising faster than the long-term average; the period 2016-2020 will likely be the warmest five years on record; and the extent of Arctic sea-ice continues to decrease with warming over the next five years continuing at twice the overall rate elsewhere around the globe.

The overall lesson: Unless nations around the world are willing to redouble their efforts to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, climate change will continue to have cascading detrimental effects on biological, ecological, and physical systems that will then differentially affect human populations and their water, food, and economic security.

See our “A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change” for more on what these changes may mean for international security.

Dr. Marc Kodack is Senior Fellow at the Center for Climate and Security and former Sustainability and Water Program Manager in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability.

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