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Looking Back: The Center for Climate and Security 2020 Wrap-Up

As we begin 2021, we wanted to take a look back at the work of the Center for Climate and Security during the past year. Thanks to the dedication of our staff, fellows and Advisory Board, we’ve made significant progress on putting climate security front and center and advancing the recommendations in our Climate Security Plan for America

We began the year by launching (in person!) two ground-breaking climate security risk reports, the Security Threat Assessment of Climate Change and the International Military Council on Climate and Security’s World Climate and Security Report 2020

Not long after COVID-19 hit and the world shut down, we  highlighted the parallels between US intelligence community warnings on pandemics with its warnings on the security risks of climate change and made recommendations to ensure the US is not caught flat-footed again, underscoring the lessons we can learn from the COVID-19 crisis that are applicable to climate change.

Meanwhile, the US Congress continued to take steps to manage climate security risks–for example in the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act and in the Senate Democrats Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. Our Director spoke before the House Democratic Caucus National Security Task Force about climate change threats to security, following the release of a new report by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. The Department of Defense also took action, launching a new US Army Climate Resilience Handbook among other activities. 

This unprecedented year has underscored the need for new ways of thinking about national security, and how risks intersect and exacerbate one another. To this end, this fall our parent organization, the Council on Strategic Risks, launched a series of videos exploring the links between climate change, nuclear energy, and nuclear weapons. We also highlighted key proposals to manage systemic risks for a new administration, and went in depth for first-of-their-kind reports on climate security in the Indo-Pacific region and Brazil
Despite the challenges of 2020, we ended the year on a hopeful note for climate security. We evaluated the climate security implications of the Biden-Harris administration’s published climate plan and made recommendations for the way ahead. We followed this with more specific analysis, identifying opportunities for action, bringing together more than 100 people in the climate security community for a panel discussion on how and why leadership matters on this issue, the first pillar of our Climate Security Plan for America. We look forward to building on this strong foundation in 2021, and hope you’ll join us in our important work in the coming year.

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