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Note from CCS and CSR Co-Founder on Ten Years of Combating the Greatest Systemic Threats of Our Time

By Caitlin E. Werrell

After ten years of work, first as Co-Founder and President of the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), then as Co-Founder and CEO of the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR), I will be stepping back from day-to-day leadership to focus my time on continuing to foster a new generation of thinkers and leaders that are anticipating, analyzing and addressing some of the most systemic threats to security in the 21st Century.

When Francesco Femia and I founded CCS and CSR, we could not have imagined the extraordinarily talented team and advisors we would have in place just ten years later, and the colleagues and friends from around the world we have had the opportunity and honor to work with. 

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The Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent: The Urgent Need For a Climate-Security Governance Architecture

Rachel_FleishmanThis article was first published on AsiaGlobal Online (April 29, 2020)

By Rachel Fleishman

Today’s international security and governance architecture was born of the post-World War II period, when a conflict-weary world sought to prevent another clash of nation-state alliances drawn into battle by the expansionist actions of a few. Yet many modern security challenges do not fit neatly into postwar constructs, argues Rachel Fleishman of the Center for Climate and Security. Pandemics, mass migration and environmental degradation – and, most prominently, climate change – defy national borders and the world must prepare for concerted, coordinated action to prevent predictable cross-border threats.
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The Center for Climate and Security Applauds the Biden Administration’s Executive Actions on Climate Change

The Center for Climate and Security applauds President Biden’s Executive Orders (EO) on climate change released today, including the EO specifically addressing climate threats to national security titled  “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.”  This EO devotes a significant section (1.3) to climate security, following through on many of the policy proposals made in the President’s campaign plan, and reflecting recommendations the Center for Climate and Security made in its “Climate Security Plan for America.”

As we noted after the election last November, President Biden committed to making climate change a core national security priority. This EO begins to make that commitment a reality, noting that climate considerations are an “essential element” of all U.S. foreign and national security policy – signaling a major and unprecedented elevation of the issue.  It builds on the President’s appointment of former Secretary of State John Kerry to be his Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (a position with a seat on the National Security Council, established in the EO), and the creation of a Senior Director for Climate and Energy at the National Security Council  – actions that together go well beyond the Obama Administration’s actions on climate security.  

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Climate Change, the Erosion of State Sovereignty, and World Order

Erosion of State Sovereignty This is a blog series highlighting each article in the Center for Climate and Security’s recent report, “Epicenters of Climate and Security: The New Geostrategic Landscape of the Anthropocene.”

Climate Change, the Erosion of State Sovereignty, and World Order
By Francesco Femia and Caitlin E. Werrell

The formation and spread of the nation-state has occurred during a relatively stable climatic period—an 11,000-year-plus epoch referred to by geologists as the Holocene. The Holocene, thought to be the longest warm and “stable” climatic period of the last 400,000 years, may have played a significant role in facilitating the development of human civilization. The epoch encompasses the advent of agriculture, the rise and fall of empires and monarchs, and the birth and spread of the nation-state to all corners of the globe. In short, all of modern civilization occurred within the Holocene. In this context, the foundation for the current system of nation-states rests in part on a common assumption that the baseline climatic and natural-resource conditions present until today will generally continue. The flaw in this assumption is that atmospheric conditions, due to human activity, have shifted in an unprecedented way since the mid-20th century, and are changing rapidly. This phenomenon, coupled with massive demographic changes, has led some to assert that that the Earth may have entered a new epoch called the “Anthropocene.” The rapid changes inherent in this epoch could stress the very foundations of the modern nation-state system…
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