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How China, Russia, the UK and US Militaries Deal With Climate Change

An interesting short piece at e-International Relations on the degree to which the militaries of some of the world’s major powers (China, Russia, UK and the US) incorporate climate change into their planning and operations.

General Wesley Clark On the Next Military Mission: Solar Energy

Forbes magazine ran a thoughtful piece today from Wesley Clark, retired Army General and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO. Clark details the military case for fully embracing solar energy, touching on the strategic benefits for the United States of moving away from centralized fossil fuel infrastructures, the cost benefits already realized, and the scale of emissions reductions that would result. In making the case for why the Department of Defense is, and should continue to be, a leader in this space, he states: (more…)

Defense Science Board Report on Climate Change and Security: List of Recommendations

In the 2012 U.S. State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted the role of the military in developing clean energy.  This was a welcome mention. Building off of that, the military may also play a role in mitigating the risks of climate change. As we highlighted previously, late last year the Defense Science Board Task Force on Trends and Implications of Climate Change for National and International Security released a report outlining what the national security community could do to better prepare for and integrate the risks of climate change into operations and objectives. It’s a long, but very interesting list, which is likely to be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense in the coming months. Below is a summary of the recommendations, found on pages xvi – xxii.  For the full report, click here.

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Egypt’s Political Transition and the Rising Sea: An Opportunity for Reform

Last January, on the heels of a successful popular revolution in Tunisia, Egyptians decided that they wanted to govern themselves as well. This led to the eventual overthrow of the 30-year Mubarak regime. Since then, the Egyptian path to democracy has been challenged, with the country’s military elite largely filling the empty spaces of power.

But while this political transition stumbles forward uncertainly, with the forces of reaction threatening to nip progress towards democracy in the bud, another less political threat looms. The health of the Nile Delta. (more…)

Thailand Forecast: Floods, Droughts and Political Instability

The devastation caused by Thailand’s recent floods is vast. Two million people across 26 provinces were affected by the event, at least 527 people were killed, and a quarter of the country’s important rice crop may have been decimated. But beyond these headlines, the flood waters present a very harsh lesson in resilience. Climate change, weather, geography and politics all conspired to teach this lesson – but not just to Thailand. It is a warning to a world facing myriad risks in the ecological landscape – risks that are exacerbated by the volatility of political institutions, and the uncertainties that come with them. The challenge, for Thailand and the globe, will be to make the task of managing these risks impervious to the politics of the day, and responsive to the challenges of the future. (more…)

If Climate Change is a Security Threat, Who’s Qualified to Fight It? Hint: Everyone

A recent piece in AlertNet raises some fair questions about the “securitisation of climate change,” including the dangers of fear-based sensationalist messages and the need for additional research into the links between climate change and violent conflict. It also goes on to make a debatable assertion about the risks of linking climate change to security  – one which assumes that framing climate change as a security issue risks overshadowing important social and environmental concerns. (more…)