The Center for Climate & Security

New Report: The Climate and Nuclear Security Intersection

Ganges_River_near_Narora_Nuclear_Power_Plant_UP_IndiaBy Andrea Rezzonico, Research Consultant

A recent Belfer Center report by Daniel Poneman, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, former Deputy Secretary of Energy, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Centrus Energy Corp., tackles the relationship between nuclear and climate issues. The report asks an important question on the expansion of nuclear energy: “can we expand its environmental benefits without increasing the risks of nuclear terror?” (more…)

More Evidence on Climate Change and Conflict Links: Context is Key

Mideast Iraq Heat Wave

Iraqis displaced by conflict collect water at al-Takia refugee camp in Baghdad, July 2015 (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

By Neil Bhatiya, Climate and Diplomacy Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security

Much of the work the policy community has done with regard to the role climate change may play in driving armed conflict rests on important social science research which seeks to explore how conflicts start, are sustained, and eventually end. A lot of work in this subfield has focused on well-known case studies such as Syrian drought and the ongoing civil war there. In a new study in last Fall’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Nina von Uexkull, Mihai Croicua, Hanne Fjeldea, and Halvard Buhaug add some essential new evidence to the debate over how climate change impacts, in this case increased drought, play into conflict dynamics. (more…)

Chronology of Military and Intelligence Concerns About Climate Change

Climate and Security Week in Review Global MapAs we look toward a new Administration in the United States, and the path forward on addressing the myriad threats in a rapidly-changing geostrategic landscape, it’s worth having a clearer understanding of how the U.S. national security community has come to  its current level of concern about climate change. This concern didn’t happen overnight, or under a single administration. Rather, it’s the culmination of decades of assessments stretching back to the end of the Cold War. (more…)

Looking Back to Look Forward: The DoD and Opportunities in a Changing Climate

us_navy_military_sealift_command_underway_replenishment_oiler_usns_walter_s-_diehl_provides_fuel_and_suppliesAs the current Administration winds down, each of the President’s Cabinet members have submitted “Exit Memos” detailing “the progress we’ve made, their vision for the country’s future, and the work that remains in order to achieve that vision.” They are all worth a read. Of particular note is Secretary of Defense Ashton “Ash” Carter’s memo, and how it contextualizes the risks and opportunities associated with a changing climate. Despite perceptions to the contrary, Secretary Carter joins a growing list of defense leaders, civilian and military, stretching back to the early years of the George W. Bush Administration, that have taken climate change seriously as both a matter of national security, and a driver of innovative action. (more…)

New Briefer: Why the U.S. National Security Community Takes Climate Risks Seriously

ClimateSecurity101_LOGOBRIEFER No. 30 | December 13, 2016

[UPDATE]: Climate and Security 101: Why the U.S. National Security Community Takes Climate Risks Seriously (PDF)

In 2007, former Army Chief of Staff, retired General Gordon R. Sullivan, stated:

“People are saying they want to be perfectly convinced about climate science projections…But speaking as a soldier, we never have 100 percent certainty. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield.”

The national security establishment in the United States, including the military, intelligence and homeland security communities, understand climate risks as a national security challenge, and that the United States cannot wait for 100% certainty before acting to address them. This is due to the nature of climate change as a “threat multiplier,” which exacerbates existing and pending challenges in the security landscape. (more…)

Video: Bipartisan Climate and Security Consensus Statement Release

climate-security-consensus-statement_center-for-climate-and-securityThere exists a U.S. national security consensus that climate change presents a “strategically-significant risk” and will require a “comprehensive response.” It’s an issue that the next President of the United States (and likely, many after that) will have to take very seriously, no matter their ideological predilections. In this context,  we are releasing a video (below) of a bipartisan panel of senior national security and military leaders who served across the Nixon, Reagan, Bush (both) and Clinton Administrations, discussing the strong military and national security rationales for addressing the challenge. The panel includes: (more…)

Planetary Security Conference 2016: Urgency and Complexity of Climate Risks

psi2016_logoIn context of a rapidly-changing political and security environment, the international climate and security community is having its second-ever/2nd-annual international gathering from Dec 5-6, 2016. The Planetary Security Conference, as part of the Planetary Security Initiative, is the second of four planned annual conferences aimed at strengthening the growing community of practice around climate change and security across the three Ds – defense, diplomacy and development. (more…)

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