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Depopulating Military Installations Because of Sea Level Rise


The GAO’s Washington, DC Headquarters

By Dr. Marc Kodack

In case you missed it, an audit of the U.S. Department of Defense’s installation climate resilience from last year, conducted by the Government Accountability Office, found that “installations have not consistently assessed risks from extreme weather and climate change effects or consistently used projections to anticipate future climate conditions.” One of those conditions is sea level rise that will affect multiple coastal installations (see here and here). Sea level rise will not only affect the physical infrastructure on these installations, it will also potentially lead to the inland migration of portions of the populations who live in the surrounding communities – some of whom form part of an installation’s work force. Depending on how far away and how many  migrants move, their loss will degrade an installation’s ability to continue to function at an acceptable level over time. (more…)

Climate and National Security in the New “Solving the Climate Crisis” Report

Solving the Climate Crisis Report CoverOn Tuesday 30 June, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on the Climate Crisis issued a landmark report on the threats that climate change poses to the United States. Based on thousands of testimonies, inputs and recommendations from all sectors and regions of the country, the report outlines concrete legislative steps that the Committee recommends be taken to confront the challenge. In response, John Conger, Director of the Center for Climate and Security and former Deputy Comptroller of the U.S. Department of Defense, stated:

“We are pleased to see that the Committee’s report, “Solving the Climate Crisis”, recognizes the significant impacts of climate change on national security and includes several important recommendations in response.  Their recommendations align with those that the Center for Climate and Security has embraced in its Climate Security Plan for America and A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change, and they build on the important bipartisan work of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.  We urge both the Administration and the Congress to continue prioritizing response to address this important national security threat.”


John Conger and Alice Hill Call for a National Resilience Act

A Climate Security Plan for America_Report CoverIn a recent op-ed published in The Hill, the Center for Climate and Security’s Director, John Conger, and Board Member Alice Hill, call for a National Resilience Act requiring that all investments by the U.S. federal government be climate resilient.  This would entail ensuring that such investments undergo a “climate resilience review.” In short, all federal investments should be built to stand up against current and projected climatic changes.

Conger and Hill state that this law should be envisioned as part of a comprehensive nationwide “Climate and Security Infrastructure Initiative” – the kind outlined in the Center for Climate and Security’s Climate Security Plan for America. (more…)

The New Water Development Report and Implications for Security

WWDR 2020 CoverBy Dr. Marc Kodack

Climate change has and will continue to have both direct and indirect effects around the world. Changes in water will be one of the most visible direct effects, whether it is too little water, such as during prolonged droughts; too much, such as flooding caused by sea-level rise or tropical storms; or misaligned timing, such as when seasonal rains are early or late. Across numerous societies, the climate change-water interaction will be disruptive, but through mitigation and adaptation actions, this interaction can at least be ameliorated. However, these disruptions will also have significant security implications locally, regionally, and globally depending on their intensity, spatial extent, and longevity, and due to their disproportionate effects on different segments of societies. This deteriorating security environment is very likely to increase the vulnerability of affected populations, enhance inequities, and interfere with mitigation and adaptation actions, which will prolong instability. Thus, any security analysis must integrate the effects of climate change on water, and its attendant effects on the vulnerability of populations, to capture a true picture of the security environment. Resources like the newly-released World Water Development Report (WWDR), titled “Water and Climate Change,” should therefore be taken very seriously by the security community.