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How Terrorists Leverage Climate Change

-This is a cross-post from the New Security Beat
By 

Policymakers and emergency managers tend to build a conceptual wall between natural hazards and terrorism. The causes of—and remedies for—these two kinds of disasters are seen as separate and distinct. But, in the era of climate change, the wall between the two is crumbling.

As climate and weather patterns shift, the resulting environmental crisis is being leveraged as a tool for terror and political violence. Around the world, environmental stress due to unpredictable weather catalyzes political violence, further undermining weak governments. And in the United States, the environmental crisis is a “threat multiplier” that could enable terrorism, overwhelm response capabilities, and threaten populations and critical infrastructure. (more…)

FEMA’s 2019 Preparedness Report Fails to Prepare the Nation for Climate Change

FEMA_-_13132_-_Photograph_by_Bill_Koplitz_taken_on_04-05-2005_in_District_of_ColumbiaBy Marc Kodack

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently issued its 2019 National Preparedness Report, and it’s conspicuously missing a key threat to security – climate change. The report provides an overview of FEMA’s 2018 efforts to address the National Preparedness Goal. The goal is sub-divided into five mission areas; prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery that together address “the threats, hazards and incidents that pose the greatest risk to the Nation.” Spread across the five mission areas are 32 activities or core capabilities. Despite the unprecedented risks associated with it, climate change and its’ effects—e.g., sea level rise, coastal or inland storm intensity and flooding, increases in temperature, drought, wildfire—are not  mentioned anywhere in the report. None of the 32 activities and core capabilities acknowledge this growing risk factor for the US homeland. (more…)

America Must Reassert Its Leadership In The Arctic For 21st Century Security

Goodman Congressional Testimony_2019_December 12

Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist at the Center for Climate and Security, testifies before the U.S. Senate on December 12, 2019

By Ladeene Freimuth, Special Guest Contributor

As we begin a new decade and move further into the 21st century, increasing U.S. leadership and security in the Arctic are vital, in light of the growing threats America faces there. The U.S. cannot lose sight of important geostrategic changes occurring vis-a-vis the Arctic, due to the “threat multiplier” effects of climate change, which are exacerbating the security challenges for the U.S. there and elsewhere around the globe.

A recent hearing on the “Expanding Opportunities, Challenges, and Threats in the Arctic” in the Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation sought to highlight this need for the U.S. to reassert its leadership in the Arctic by examining climate change and national security challenges and opportunities in the region, with an emphasis on the U.S. Coast Guard’s strategic role. Climate impacts are “reshaping the strategic operating environment for the Coast Guard in the Arctic, and around the world,” as the Honorable Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist for the Center for Climate and Security, testified before the Subcommittee. In 2018, former Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, stated that the U.S. needs to up its gamein the Arctic, because the U.S. is inadequately prepared for the changing threat environment there. (more…)

ICYMI: How Climate Change Can Assist China and Russia’s Hybrid Warfare

Climate and Security Week in Review Global MapIn an interesting Defense One article from RUSI’s Elisabeth Braw (from late October last year, but we’re just catching up with it…), she details the ways in which a rapidly-changing climate can help facilitate China and Russia’s strategies of “blended aggression,” or “hybrid war,” which involves the exploitation of multiple disruptions in the global security landscape to undermine adversaries. The byline reads:

Increased refugee flows, weather threats, and declining food security will deepen tensions already being exploited to divide and weaken the U.S. and its allies.

Click here for the full article, as it’s worth a read.

Pentagon Not Using Leading Practices to Assess Water Scarcity at Installations

The_PentagonBy Marc Kodack

The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) latest audit of DoD installations focused on “the extent to which DoD has assurance that it is using reliable information to identify installations at risk of water scarcity.” GAO found that DOD does not have “assurance that [it] is using accurate and reliable information regarding which installations are at risk for water scarcity.” GAO examined multiple DoD and military service assessments that focused on or included water scarcity. Some of these assessments included the effects of climate change on water availability. GAO collected installation information on water scarcity from field visits or through questionnaires from a total of 17 installations. The installations selected were previously identified by DoD or the Services as having water vulnerabilities or scarcity. (more…)

Christine Parthemore Chosen as New CEO of the Council on Strategic Risks

Christine ParthemoreThe Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) – the parent institution of the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) – is pleased to announce Christine Parthemore as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Christine has deep experience addressing issues ranging from the security implications of climate change to countering weapons of mass destruction, including in the U.S. Department of Defense, security think tanks, and academia. She is also Director of CSR’s Janne E. Nolan Center on Strategic Weapons and Manager of CSR’s Climate-Nuclear-Security Project, and was a founding Board Member of CSR.

(more…)

National Academy of Sciences Studies Community Resilience

SONY DSCBy Marc Kodack

Dozens of systems, indicators, indices, measures, or frameworks, exist to assess community resilience, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s community resilience indicator. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, released a report  late last year in which it evaluated many of these existing efforts to understand how resilience was being measured. The goal was to use this research to help communities evaluate their resilience efforts and how progress can be determined. Four recommendations are made to assist communities in their resilience efforts including (1) engage all community members and organizations in resilience goals, priorities, leadership, and measurement; (2) Measure resilience across multiple dimensions, e.g., usefulness to decision making, natural/built environment; (3) Track progress using the community selected measures; and (4) convince participants to support resilience because investments they decide to make have multiple, community benefits. The Gulf of Mexico region is used as a specific example with its own recommended actions that should be implemented. (more…)