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The Climate Threat to the US Energy System

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Solar panels are tested during a NATO exercise in Hungary

In an article published in Defense One last week, Amy Myers Jaffe highlights the results of a March 2019 Council on Foreign Relations workshop with 44 experts (including the Director of the Center for Climate and Security, John Conger) titled “Climate Risk Impacts on the Energy System: Examining the Financial, Security, and Technological Dimensions.” The conversation was wide-ranging, exploring critical energy systems across both the civilian and military realms. On the military side of the ledger, the group raised serious concerns about the vulnerability of the Department of Defense’s energy supply to climate change-driven disruptions. In particular: (more…)

Sherri Goodman Talks “Threat Multiplier” on Yale Climate Connections

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Why does the Department of Defense call climate change a threat multiplier? Last week, Yale Climate Connections sat down with Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist at the Center for Climate and Security and former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security) to find out more. She explains, “Extreme weather and water shortages increase the risk of political instability and terrorism.” As a threat multiplier, climate change aggravates other stressors that together can threaten a nation’s stability. (more…)

Roll Call Video: Is the Military Ready for Climate Change?

Conger_Roll CallRoll Call released a video recently featuring Center for Climate and Security (CCS) Director, John Conger, and CCS Advisory Board Member, Dr. Marcus King, exploring the question of whether or not the U.S. military is ready for a changing climate. Most of those interviewed for the piece, including Colonel Brian Laidlaw, Tyndall Air Force Base’s Installation Commander (who noted that they simply don’t have the money to repair half the buildings on the base that were damaged by Hurricane Michael in 2018), suggested that the military has quite some way to go before it’s fully prepared. (more…)

Report from Down Under: “Climate change now represents a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilisation”

Australia_Weather-map-WA-28FEB06Australia’s National Centre for Climate Restoration, also known as Breakthrough, released a sobering report late last month titled “Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario approach.” The policy paper, authored by David Spratt & Ian Dunlop, with a foreword by Admiral Chris Barrie, AC RAN (Retired), former Chief of the Australian Defence Force, explores a climate scenario thirty years in the future – a method of risk anticipation often utilized by militaries. The scenario exercise led to a striking conclusion:

Climate change now represents a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilisation.

(more…)

Pentagon Environmental Research Program Webinar on Climate Change Adaptation

The_PentagonThe U.S. Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) host an excellent webinar series to “promote the transfer of innovative, cost-effective and sustainable solutions developed through projects funded in five program areas.” One of those areas involves presenting solutions to the security implications of climate change. The webinar scheduled for June 20 at 12pm ET is titled “Developing Adaptation Strategies to Address Climate Change and Uncertainty,” and promises to be an interesting discussion with Dr. Yonas Demissie of Washington State University and Dr. Mark Wigmosta of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Click here for more information, and to register.

Top 10 Most Climate-Vulnerable Military Bases According to U.S. Armed Forces

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Offutt Air Force Base flooded on March 17, 2019, caused by increase in water levels of surrounding waterways due to record-setting snowfall in winter & large drop in air pressure (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake)

By John Conger

In 2017, the U.S. Congress directed the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a list of the installations in each military service that were most vulnerable to climate change.  They gave DoD a year to do this work, as it wasn’t simple.  The DoD would need to look across its enterprise, and determine how it would measure vulnerability and assess which risks were specifically from climate change.  At the Center for Climate and Security, we published a briefer on the factors they might consider. (more…)

Release: New Report on Converging Nuclear Energy, Climate and Security Risks in Egypt

CSR Working Group on Climate Nuclear Security Affairs_Egypt Report_2019_6_11Washington, DC, June 12, 2019 – Today the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR), the parent organization of the Center for Climate and Security, released a new report titled “Nuclear Energy Developments, Climate Change, and Security in Egypt,” through its Converging Risks Lab program. The report explores the ways in which nuclear, climate and security trends are converging in this critical country – an under-explored yet potentially very consequential security issue.

This report comes on the heels of U.S. policy-makers in Congress recognizing the importance of understanding the intersection of nuclear and climate trends. Last week, the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Strategic Forces approved language to the FY20 National Defense Authorization Bill stating that the Department of Defense “must plan to ensure the viability of the nuclear enterprise” at least throughout the planned nuclear modernization program. As such, it requires “the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, to provide a report to the House Committee on Armed Services not later than March 31, 2020, assessing the effects of climate change on the U.S. nuclear enterprise, to include bases, ports, laboratories, plants, sites, and testing facilities, through 2080.” (more…)