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U.S. Congress Continues to Address Climate Change in Defense and Intelligence Legislation

Rain_on_Capitol_Hill

By John Conger

In the final version of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress included multiple important climate security provisions that will significantly increase Department of Defense (DoD) installations’ resilience to climate change. This continues a tradition of bipartisan cooperation on including climate change provisions in the NDAA, including during the last and current Congress (including the FY2018 NDAA, which identified climate change as a “direct threat” to national security. This year’s bill includes a number of significant steps forward, such as funding for climate resilience projects, and the creation of a Climate and Security Council within the Intelligence Community (a long-standing priority for the Center for Climate and Security). Below is a summary of the climate security provisions in the final version of the NDAA. (more…)

New Zealand Defence Releases Climate Change Implementation Plan

NZ Defence_Climate Crisis Report Cover_2019On December 8, 2019, the New Zealand Minister of Defence Hon. Ron Mark, with Minister for Climate Change Hon James Shaw, released a Climate Change Implementation Work Plan for its defence force, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan. The plan was co-produced by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force, and follows on the heels of the Defence Capability Plan released in June, which included the “Climate Crisis” as one of its key chapters. To read the full report, click here, and to read the press release, click here. A contact in the New Zealand Ministry of Defence sent along the following summary: (more…)

Femia: Army War College finds service ill-equipped to face climate change

Francesco Femia on TRT WorldLast week, the Federal News Network’s “Federal Drive” ran an interview with the Center for Climate and Security’s Co-Founder, Francesco Femia, regarding a recent Army War College report that alarmingly found the U.S. military “precariously underprepared for the national security implications of climate change-induced global security challenges.” Femia highlighted the key takeaways from the report, including an extraordinary finding specific to the Army, which stated that the service “precipitously close to mission failure concerning hydration of the force in contested arid environments.” Femia recommended that both technical, as well as big strategic and operational changes and investments, are needed to prepare the Army, and the broader U.S. military, for this rapidly-changing operational landscape – including to prepare for the likelihood of adversaries taking advantage of these changes, and a lack of U.S. leadership for addressing them. Click here for the full interview.

Climate Change, Water Reuse and Military Readiness

Military Sealift Command

Seahawk helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4 lifts a pallet of bottled water from the deck of Military Sealift Command combat stores ship USNS Niagara Falls

By Marc Kodack

The Environmental Protection Agency recently published a draft National Water Reuse Action Plan, seeking comments on the plan by December 16, 2019 (ten days from today, so get to your comment stations). The comment period raises the importance of understanding that climate change will manifest itself primarily through water, and that water reuse will become more and more important in the future. As the draft plan itself notes:

Climate change will greatly increase the risk that water supplies will not be able to keep pace with demand, necessitating the need to develop new, drought proof supplies.

(more…)

2020 Outlook from NOAA: Sea Level Rise to Drive Chronic High Tide Flooding

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U.S. Soldiers from the 59th Aviation Troop Command, South Carolina Army National Guard, provide airborne support during flood relief operations in Columbia, S.C., Oct. 5, 2015. Photo by Staff Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine

By Marc Kodack

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently published their 2018 State of High Tide Flooding and 2019 Outlook. The 2019 outlook covers the meteorological year which runs from May 2019-to-April 2020. High tide flooding (HTF), also known as nuisance or sunny-day flooding (both euphemisms these days), occurs in the absence of any storms, such as when there is a strong wind coming off the ocean at the same time as a high tide. High tide flooding is a direct result of rising sea levels. Nuisance flooding and sea level rise are already affecting multiple, coastal Department of Defense installations, as highlighted by the Pentagon this past January, and the Center for Climate and Security’s Military Expert Panel report “Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission.” Thus, NOAA’s projection that nuisance flooding trends will continue to linearly increase resulting in chronic flooding rather than sporadic flooding will increase disruptions of portions of some installations more frequently, e.g., flooded roads, clogged stormwater drains that may flood facilities. (more…)

Future Climate Scenario Projects Water Woes for U.S. Military Bases in Guam

Multi Sail 2016

Aerial view of U.S. Naval Base Guam, 5 March 2016

By Marc Kodack

The U.S. Geological Survey recently released a report that assessed “the influence of future climate change and sea level rise on freshwater resources (surface-water and groundwater) of Guam.” These changes have serious implications for the local population, as well as for Department of Defense installations including Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base. The work was funded by the DoD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program. (more…)

New Study: Naval Academy May Have to Move Due to Sea Level Rise

Hurrican Isabel storm damage and flooding at the U.S. Naval Academy.

A flooded U.S. Naval Academy facility due to Hurricane Isabel

By Marc Kodack

The Naval Academy is at risk from sea level rise and more intense storms that may force it to relocate by 2100, according to the featured article in the current issue of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings journal. The Naval Academy has been in Annapolis, Maryland since 1845. It is surrounded by water on three sides which increases its vulnerability to flooding. Some structures are no more than three feet above the water level. In and around Annapolis sea levels have increased by almost a foot since the 1920s. The sea level is forecast to rise between “0.6 and 3.6 feet by 2050.” (more…)