The Center for Climate & Security

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.

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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…)

GAO: Climate Resilience Is Not Being Addressed by the Federal Government

gao_dc_headquarters

By Marc Kodack

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified climate change as a high risk to federal agencies beginning in 2013, and has continued that assessment with its most current list of high risks released in late 2019. The list is updated every other year at the start of a new Congress. According to the GAO, the “High Risk List has served to identify and help resolve serious weaknesses in areas that involve substantial resources and provide critical services to the public.” The reason that climate change was included, is that the GAO has determined that it represents a significant fiscal risk to the federal government. This is due to the projection that if climate resilience is not increased today, significantly higher costs will be incurred in the future to address damage and destruction caused by climate change. Of the 62 recommendations that GAO has made concerning climate risk since 2013, 25 remain open as of December 2018. Thus, the GAO concludes, “…the federal government has not made measurable progress to reduce its fiscal exposure to climate change.” The lack of progress has informed two, 2019 GAO audits related to climate resilience – one for the federal government released in October, and another for the Department of Defense (DoD) released in June. (more…)

Higher Temperatures from Climate Change Can Deteriorate Stored Ammunition and Explosives

Munitions exposed to heat

Munitions exposed to extreme heat can become unstable, leading to unplanned explosions at munitions sites, or UEMS. Credit: Getty Images

By Marc Kodack

Climate change will affect bulk commodities, e.g., ammunition, that the U.S. Amy relies on in combat operations. As temperatures increase in arid areas of the world, such as the Middle East (which is critically important to U.S. national security), the storage of ammunition and explosives (AE) under extreme temperatures can lead to instability and possible unplanned detonations. A recent article in Scientific American explores the storage of ammunition whereby “intense heat can weaken munition’s structural integrity, cause the thermal expansion of explosive chemicals and damage protective shields.” (more…)

CCS at COP25: Time to Get Serious About Climate and Security Risks to Small Islands

Oliver_CCS_COP Madrid 2019

CCS Senior Research Fellow LCDR Oliver-Leighton Barrett, US Navy (Ret), speaking at the “Climate and Security- emerging trends and adaptive strategies” event at COP25 in Madrid, Spain (December 11, 2019)

The European Union (EU) is taking decisive action on addressing climate change and making it an integral part of its foreign aid strategy. To advance the climate change focused portion of its foreign policy, in 2007 the EU founded the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) with a charter to develop “climate security” strategies that address the strategic and political impacts of climate change. Most specifically, the GCCA aims to strengthen dialogue and cooperation, on climate change with developing countries most vulnerable to the phenomenon, in particular Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

As part of this “dialogue and cooperation” effort, on the afternoon of December 11, 2019, at the U.N. Conference of the Parties 25 (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, the GCCA hosted a climate security focused side event titled “Climate and Security- emerging trends and adaptive strategies.” The event aspired to expand on understanding of the ways in which climate variability interacts with human security by examining themes that included the security implications of ecological changes on SIDS and LDCs. The Center for Climate and Security’s Senior Research Fellow, Lieutenant Commander Oliver Leighton Barrett, US Navy (retired), a former advisor to U.S. Southern Command, was invited to discuss some of these themes with the COP25 audience. (more…)

Highway Bridge Deterioration from Climate Change Will Affect U.S. Military Mobility and Deployments

Bridge #3 with Deteriorated Deck _WI

By Marc Kodack

The overall state of infrastructure in the U.S. is very poor. Whether it’s energy, transit, drinking water, or inland waterways, these and other types of infrastructure are all aging and deteriorating at different rates. Climate change exacerbates the condition of many of these types of infrastructure. For the Department of Defense (DoD), infrastructure, such as bridges, roads, rail, ports, and aviation structures, is important to move personnel and equipment in response to disasters within the U.S. or for deploying overseas for humanitarian and/or combat operations. The declining state of bridges across the U.S. may impede the DoD’s ability to meet the timely execution of its assigned mission. Bridges will experience climate change effects, including those from rising temperatures that can lower physical performance leading to degradation in their life span. (more…)

Climate Change Driving Increase in Black Flag Days at 100 U.S. Military Installations

US Military and Extreme Heat

An Army Ranger trainee completes a 12-mile march at Fort Benning in Georgia while wearing heat sensors under his uniform to measure his core temperature and heart rate. (Brock Stoneham/NBC News)

By Marc Kodack

Elevated temperatures from climate change will adversely affect the health of military personnel. The increased heat that will occur over the next 30 years will affect multiple installations in the U.S. On average, these installations will experience additional days of high heat conditions according to research by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

UCS examined different climate scenarios to calculate the number of hot days for 169 installations in the U.S. across the Services. They found that without any reductions in global CO2 levels by 2050, the average installation will experience 33 additional days with a heat index above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the report: (more…)

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