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New Online Course on Climate Change & National Security

The Center for Climate and Security is pleased to partner with The Conservation Coalition‘s Market Environmentalism Academy on the launch of a new online course on climate change and national security, featuring a video (below) with our advisory board member, General Ronald Keys, US Air Force (Ret). 

The short 14 lesson course provides an overview of the climate change-national security nexus, and has modules on clean energy competition as well as extreme weather impacts. 

You can sign up for the course and watch the entire video with Gen. Keys here.

Central American Climate Migration is a Human Security Crisis

Central American migrants in Mexico City, November 9, 2018 – photo by Wotancito

By Amali Tower

In the pursuit of addressing the ‘root causes’ of migration from Central America to the U.S. southern border, the United States is motivated by a foreign policy built on seeking to improve conditions in Central America countries. However, this policy fails to fully grasp the extreme conditions that now mark contexts of forced displacement. 

The Central American Integration System (SICA) — the economic and political organization of Central American states — has expressed the need to approach forced migration through a human security and development lens, rather than a traditional hard security one, and through coordinated regional responses. SICA identifies the structural causes of migration as poverty and inequality, insufficient growth, high demographic growth in cities – with rural areas lagging, high levels of violence, a wage gap between the region and the United States, family reunification needs in the United States, and vulnerability to climate change. SICA notes that Guatemala and El Salvador, and at times Nicaragua, are among the 15 countries in the world most exposed to disasters.

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Converging Climate Risks: Government, Military, and Business at NATO 2030

Afghan Air Force and NATO mentors battle floods. July 29, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Jimmie Barrow/RELEASED)

By Elsa Barron and Lily Feldman

There are few challenges more “transatlantic” in nature than the climate crisis. No single nation can fix the issue at hand, yet through strong partnerships, hopefully the worst effects of climate change can be managed to help avert catastrophe. At the NATO 2030 Brussels Forum, taking place on the opening day of the NATO Summit, partnerships around climate security were a leading topic of discussion. The panel, “Operating in Times of Climate Change,” featured experts Congressman Ted Deutch (D-CA), Marsden Hanna, Head of Sustainability and Climate Policy at Google, and Sherri Goodman, Chair of the Board of the Council on Strategic Risks and Senior Strategist at the Center for Climate and Security. The panel, moderated by Janini Vivekanada of Adelphi, addressed major climate risks and opportunities at the intersection of government, security, and business interests, exploring opportunities to expand collaboration around and commitments towards climate action.

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BRIEFER: Climate Change in the U.S. National Security Strategy: History and Recommendations

By Holly Kaufman and Sherri Goodman

2021 marks renewed and heightened U.S. government attention to climate and environmental security.  Reducing the threat of climate change is integrated into nearly every aspect of the Biden Administration’s agenda, into all cabinet and other senior positions, including those that deal with national security and foreign policy, and is the focus of three Executive Orders (EOs) that President Biden issued starting on day one of his presidency. The White House also published an Interim National Security Strategic Guidance” which states that the United States and the world have to act aggressively, now, to avert the most dire climate change consequences “for the health of our people, our economy, our security, and our planet.”

The President’s “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” EO starts with a directive to put the climate crisis “at the center of U.S. foreign policy and national security.” It directs the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence and others to analyze the security implications of climate change (i.e., the “Climate Risk Analysis”) and incorporate them into modeling, simulation, war-gaming and other analyses. This EO also calls for the first National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) focused on climate change – one of a number of measures to integrate climate change considerations into all aspects of domestic and international security planning. This is both unprecedented and critical. NIEs are the most authoritative analyses by the U.S. intelligence community. They provide policymakers with detailed data, information, and evidence-based analysis, without regard to whether the analytic judgments conform to current U.S. policy. Though a number of previous intelligence documents have addressed climate change, including a landmark 2016 National Intelligence Council memorandum, an NIE will go further in detailing the impact of climate change on America’s security. 

Read the full briefer here.

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