The Center for Climate & Security

Climate Change More Prominent Than Ever at Munich Security Conference with “World Climate Security Report 2020” Release

Feb 15_MSC_Clim Sec

Munich Security Conference Main Stage Event on Climate and Security, Feb 15, 2020. From Left: Jennifer Morgan (GPI), Kent Walker (Google), Patricia Espinosa Cantellano (UNFCCC), Lindsey Graham (U.S. Senator), General (Ret) Tom Middendorp (International Military Council on Climate and Security), Sheldon Whitehouse (U.S. Senator), Melinda Crane-Röhrs (Deutsche Welle).

Climate change has never been very prominent at the Munich Security Conference (MSC), a leading forum for senior military, security and foreign policy leaders. That changed this year, with the release of the “World Climate and Security Report 2020” by the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) – an international network administered by the Center for Climate and Security, in partnership with a consortium of organizations. The report featured prominently on the MSC stage – at the opening “Hashtag Event” on February 13 and in a later event on the Main Stage on February 15 – which even featured strong U.S. bipartisan support for comprehensive policies combating climate change. These events included powerful contributions from General Tom Middendorp, Chair of the IMCCS, and former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands. These were reinforced by other IMCCS voices during the World Climate and Security Report 2020 side event on February 15, in the media, and by senior defense leaders and IMCCS staff in Luxembourg. Below is a description of the key climate security events during this extraordinary three days – three days of climate change being elevated, as it should be, to some of the highest levels of the international security discourse. The next step will be translating this discourse into actions that are commensurate to the threat. (more…)

RELEASE: International Military Council Issues “World Climate and Security Report 2020” at Munich Security Conference

World Climate and Security Report 2020 - Cover Image

Munich, Germany, February 13, 2020 —  This year climate change is more central than ever at the Munich Security Conference (MSC), the leading international forum for senior military, security and foreign policy leaders, with the release of the inaugural “World Climate and Security Report 2020” by the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS). The release will be announced by General (Ret) Tom Middendorp, Chair of the IMCCS, at the conference’s “Apocalypse Now? – Climate and Security” opening event at 16:15pm CET on February 13 (open to the public), followed by an MSC event on the report at 16:00pm CET on February 15 (open to registered MSC participants). The IMCCS is a group of senior military leaders, security experts, and security institutions across the globe – currently from 32 countries in every hemisphere – dedicated to anticipating, analyzing, and addressing the security risks of a changing climate.

The report finds that security and military experts are increasingly concerned about the security implications of climate change, with many perceiving the risks to global security to be significant or higher in the next two decades, and recommends “climate-proofinginternational security – including infrastructure, institutions and policies – as well as major emissions reductions to avoid significant-to-catastrophic security threats. 

In highlighting the key findings of the report, and the rationale for releasing it at the MSC, General Middendorp, former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands, stated:

“Climate change poses significant risks to global security, which could become catastrophic in the next two decades. As this report, and the 32-country International Military Council on Climate and Security shows, more and more military leaders are raising this alarm. It’s not just environmentalists. The security community therefore has a responsibility to prepare for and prevent these threats, including through climate-proofing international security at all levels. That’s why we’ve brought the World Climate and Security Report to the Munich Security Conference.” – General (Ret) Tom Middendorp, Chair, IMCCS (more…)

Event: A Security Threat Profile of Global Climate Change

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A Security Threat Profile of Global Climate Change

Monday, February 24, 2020
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Room 2168 (Gold Room), Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC USA
Seating on a first come, first served basis.

Please RSVP to expedite check-in: www.eesi.org/022420security#rsvp
Live webcast (connection permitting) will be streamed at: www.eesi.org/livecast

The Center for Climate and Security and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute invite you to a briefing on a new assessment of projected climate change impacts on U.S. security and national interests in the coming decades. How will climate impacts affect geopolitics, infrastructure, and security environments in a world with a 2-degree Celsius rise in average global temperature? How about a 4-degree rise? (more…)

New Zealand Defence Leadership Meets with the Center for Climate and Security

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The New Zealand Defence Minister’s team meets with leadership of the Center for Climate and Security and the Council on Strategic Risks and the

On January 25, New Zealand’s Minister of Defence Ron Mark, and a team of senior defense leaders including the New Zealand Secretary of Defence and Chief of the Navy, met with the Center for Climate and Security’s and Council on Strategic Risks’ leadership to discuss the security and military implications of climate change, and what the United States and New Zealand can learn from each other. This was part of Defence Minister Ron Mark’s visit to Washington, DC that included meeting with his counterpart, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. See the press release here. Click here for more on recent climate security actions by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence, and here for equivalent information on the U.S. Department of Defense.

Bushfire Crisis Shows Australia Needs a Strategic Response to Climate Change

By Michael Thomas, Senior Fellow, Asia-Pacific

This article was first published in The Strategist on Jan 14, 2020

In the 1993 cult classic Groundhog Day, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) posed the question: ‘What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same and nothing you did mattered?’ Depressingly, it must surely sum up the collective outlook of the world’s climate scientists for at least the past two decades. That frustration has been compounded lately by the ‘mixed bag’ of last month’s UN climate talks in Madrid, the continued assault on the scientific method by the administration of US President Donald Trump, and rolling climate-related global environmental catastrophes. (more…)

New Water and Drought Tools Help Forecast Climate and Security Risks

USGS Mapping Tool_2020By Marc Kodack

Ready, easy access to timely water-related information is a benefit to any community because the information can provide current conditions and/or short-term forecast estimates. The information may provide forewarning to impending conditions that may adversely affect people and/or property. Baseline conditions may also be established from which changes over time can be determined.

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new mapping tool that shows daily natural water storage for 110,000 sub-regions in the lower 48 states relative to historical conditions for the same time of year. “Natural water storage…includes water present on the landscape such as standing water and water on trees, snowpack, soil water, and shallow groundwater. It does not include water in rivers or deep groundwater.” (more…)

Army Corps Chief: We Will Continue to Consider Climate Change Unless Ordered Not To

RD James 2020By Marc Kodack

On 9 January, the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, held a hearing to discuss the 2020 Water Resources Development Act. There were two witnesses: The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, HON R.D. James, and the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army and the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lieutenant General Todd Semonite. During the hearing, Assistant Secretary James noted that the Army Corps of Engineers would continue to consider the science of climate change unless explicitly ordered not to. See below for the full exchange on climate change between the Subcommittee Chairwoman, Representative Grace Napolitano, and Assistant Secretary James. (more…)

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