The Center for Climate & Security

The EU Advances a Responsibility to Prepare for Climate and Security Risks

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EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini at the high-level climate and security event, June 22, 2018

In August 2017, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) published its “Responsibility to Prepare” framework, which called on national, regional and multilateral security leaders to embrace the responsibility of climate-proofing their institutions (i.e. preparing), on the basis that while climate-security risks are unprecedented, our foresight capabilities regarding those risks are also unprecedented. That was followed up by a presentation of the framework by CCS’s Caitlin Werrell to the UN Security Council in December.

Building from that debut, and in anticipation of a high-level climate and security meeting of the EU External Action Service (EEAS) in June 2018, the Center for Climate and Security and its Dutch partner, the Clingendael Institute, then published a follow-on report tailored for Europe, titled “Europe’s Responsibility to Prepare: Managing Climate Security Risks in a Changing World.” The paper provided a specific set of recommendations for the EU, and member states, for how to go about preparing themselves for those impacts of climate change that could affect European security. CCS’s Shiloh Fetzek, and Clingendael’s Louise van Shaik, presented these recommendations to the EEAS at its June 22 meeting. (more…)

Japan Continues its Leadership on Climate Change and Security

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Kazuyuki Nakane, Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs, makes opening remarks at June 12, 2018 conference on climate change and fragility in Tokyo –  Photo by Climate Change Division of Japan’s Foreign Ministry. 

By Shiloh Fetzek, Senior Fellow for International Affairs

On July 12, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the “International conference on climate change and fragility in the Asia-Pacific region — Interlinkage among science, regional studies and business from the perspective of long-term climate risks” in Tokyo, which the Center for Climate and Security contributed to and participated in. The conference built on earlier Japanese leadership on climate security, stemming from its 2016 G7 presidency and leadership of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Climate Fragility Working Group, which also resulted in a report on climate security issues in Southeast Asia and the Pacific presented at 2017 G7 meeting in Italy and last year’s COP.

The July event was aimed at taking the climate security discussion to the Japanese corporate and finance sectors, illustrating the long tail of risk to Japanese commercial interests in the Asia-Pacific. These include the climate vulnerability of concentrated manufacturing centers in Southeast Asia, as evidenced by the November 2011 floods in Thailand that disrupted supply chains for automotive and electronic components, resulting in a global shortage of hard drives. (more…)

Coming Soon: The Climate and Security Podcast!

C&S PODCAST LOGO_CS_2018In response to overwhelming demand, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) will soon be launching its creatively-titled  “Climate and Security Podcast,” hosted by Dr. Sweta Chakraborty, Policy and Communications Fellow with CCS.  The podcast will bring listeners exclusive interviews with leading researchers, educators, military leaders and civil servants who work at the nexus of climate and security.  Stay tuned for more! In the meantime, see the teaser trailer below:


If you’re interested in this content, and would like to help keep the podcast moving forward, please Make a Donation Button

If you’d like to sponsor an episode, please send a message to info at climateandsecurity dot org and we’ll provide you with the details.

Conger: Why the Pentagon Cares about Climate Change

John CongerThe Ripon Society, a public policy organization that takes its name from the birthplace of the Republican Party (Ripon, Wisconsin) and considers Theodore Roosevelt its intellectual guide, recently published a multi-author volume America’s Energy Renaissance as the July issue of its The Ripon Forum magazine.

For the issue, Director of the Center for Climate and Security, John Conger, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, wrote a piece simply and pragmatically titled “Why the Pentagon Cares About Climate Change.” Within the article, Mr. Conger highlights the simple, pragmatic, mission-focused reasons why the Department of Defense takes this threat seriously. From the piece:

Secretary James Mattis – and at least fifteen other senior defense officials during the current Administration – have taken an approach that is pragmatic and mission-focused. From day one – in response to questions during his confirmation process – Secretary Mattis said: “[T]he effects of a changing climate — such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others — impact our security situation. I will ensure that the department continues to be prepared to conduct operations today and in the future, and that we are prepared to address the effects of a changing climate on our threat assessments, resources, and readiness.”  His words are hardly inflammatory, and yet they convey an unequivocal recognition of climate change and a determination to overcome its effects.

Read the full article here.

Two Days of Climate and Security Action in the UN Security Council and Japan

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Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka port operations department sailors onboard USS Puyallup, simulate delivering food, clothing, first aid kits to Japanese disaster workers. US Navy Photo By Joseph Schmitt

By Shiloh Fetzek, Sherri Goodman and John Conger

Within 24 hours of each other, three significant security events will take place in New York, Brussels and Tokyo. On July 11/12, Sweden leads a debate in the UN Security Council on climate and security, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs convenes a major conference on the same subject, and the NATO Summit begins in Brussels.

Climate change will be front and center at the first two of these, but likely not as front and center at the third.

The UN Security Council debate on July 11 is the culmination of two years of effort by Sweden to mainstream climate change into the work of the UN Security Council, making it fit for purpose in a climate-shaped security environment. Sweden managed to catalyze action and create significant momentum during their two-year term as a nonpermanent member of the Council, momentum which is likely to bridge the transition to new non-permanent members in 2019 – particularly Germany and Belgium. This follows on the Arria Formula Dialogue last December and almost a decade worth of work to address climate security risks at the UN Security Council. (more…)

Vice Admiral McGinn on CNN: The President should acknowledge climate threat at NATO

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Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, left, speaks with Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, USN (Ret) at the Navy Energy Forum 2009

In an article published today by CNN, the Center for Climate and Security’s Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, U.S. Navy (Ret), former Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment, has an important bit of advice for the U.S. President and other NATO leaders as they head to Brussels to participate in the NATO Summit: Take the advice of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and acknowledge the security threat of a changing climate.

From the article:

US Defense Secretary James Mattis is one of this country’s greatest military leaders. A former four-star Marine General, he’s well read, thoughtful, pragmatic and highly intelligent. As our foremost national security strategist, in 2017, he described climate change as a threat facing the US.

“The effects of a changing climate — such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others — impact our security situation,” he wrote.

Since then, 15 other senior US defense leaders have reaffirmed that view.

Read the full article at the CNN website.

Release: Political and Military Leaders Demonstrate Bipartisan Agreement on Preparing Virginia for Climate Change Threats

Agenda Image_2018_07_09Event: Preparing for a Climate Changed Future: Navigating the Impacts on our Military and Coastal Communities
Date: July 9, 2018
Time: 10:00am-2pm (Livestream available here)
Location: William & Mary, Sadler Center, Williamsburg, VA
Hosts: The Center for Climate and Security, the William & Mary Virginia Coastal Policy Center, and the William & Mary Whole of Government Center of Excellence
Agenda and Speakers:  Here.

Williamsburg, VA – The effects of climate change on national security are already being felt directly by civilians and military forces stationed in coastal Virginia. This unavoidable reality has brought together civilian and military communities in the commonwealth, as well as Republican and Democratic policy-makers, to urgently discuss solutions at an event in Williamsburg, VA today, convened by the Center for Climate and Security, the William & Mary Virginia Coastal Policy Center, and the William & Mary Whole of Government Center of Excellence. (more…)

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