This article was first published on E-IR as “The Great Thaw: Climate Change and the Post-Cold War World” on March 20, 2019. It is an abridged version of “The Thirty Years’ Climate Warming: Climate Change, Security, and the Responsibility to Prepare,” in The Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University. Volume XX, Number 1, Fall/Winter 2018.
By Caitlin Werrell & Francesco Femia
The end of the Cold War coincided with the beginning of global awareness about the risks from climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 and the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Since then, the world has witnessed dramatic social, political, economic, and climatic shifts, as well as incredible technological change – including improvements in our ability to predict future changes in the climate and their implications for international security (Schleussner et al., 2016). While some of these changes have caught the international security community off-guard, we have seen climate change risks coming for many decades. This combination of unprecedented risks and unprecedented foresight underscore a “Responsibility to Prepare.” (more…)
Climate Change and National Security: Protecting the Integrity of Threat Assessments
Please join the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, the American Security Project, and the Center for Climate and Security on Monday, March 25, 2019 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m ET. for a conversation on climate change as a national security threat and the need for independent, objective science to inform threat assessments. (more…)
Welcome back to The Climate and Security Podcast!
In this episode host Dr. Sweta Chakraborty talks to Michael Lowder, principal at Michael W. Lowder and Global Associates as well as the Fmr. Dir. of the Office of Intelligence, Security, and Emergency Response for the U.S. Dept. of Transport, Fmr. Deputy Dir. of the Response Division for FEMA, as well as a former special agent as part of a 47 year career in civil service! Michael explains the meaning of critical infrastructure and its role in security, economic security, and public health and safety. He explains how climate impacts like sea level rise have direct impacts on portions of the infrastructure such as through inundation of roadways, railroads and airports. The ripple effects are vast, and knowing and adapting accordingly will be vital for preserving a thriving society. Tune in to learn critical information pertaining to our collective security and well being! (more…)
By John Conger
The House Armed Services Committee bore public witness to the growing consensus between Democrats and Republicans on supporting the military’s response to climate change, during a Readiness Subcommittee hearing titled “Ensuring Resiliency of Military Installations and Operations in Response to Climate Changes.”
Chairman Garamendi’s opening statement outlined a series of concerns:
Just this last year Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused billions of dollars in damage to Camp Lejeune and leveled much of Tyndall Air Force Base. California wildfires led to the evacuation of family housing at Camp Pendleton, Naval Air Station Point Mugu, and the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center. In addition, our coastal installations and their surrounding communities are already experiencing significant flooding due to sea-level rise. The Army’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site at the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific is threatened by sea level rise and may not last 20 years. The Navy’s principal Atlantic Base Norfolk/Hampton Rhodes and the Naval Academy are already experiencing flooding. Melting polar ice in Arctic regions has already opened new sea routes and competition for resources, yet it appears that DOD has not developed a systematic strategy for ensuring U.S. national interests in the Arctic.
By John Conger
A lot is happening on the climate and security front in the U.S. Congress. This is unsurprising, given the continued attention to the security risks of climate change from the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, as well as a persistent message from the national security community outside government about the importance of addressing this growing threat. Below are descriptions of two Congressional actions in the past week alone, as well as one on the horizon (well, tomorrow).
March 13: Tomorrow, the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Readiness will be holding a hearing titled “Ensuring Resiliency of Military Installations and Operations in Response to Climate Changes.” The hearing will feature testimony from retired Rear Admiral David W. Titley, U.S. Navy (full disclosure: he’s a Senior Member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board and a Member of the Board of Directors at the Council on Strategic Risks, our parent organization). He will be joined by the Honorable Sharon Burke, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy at the Department of Defense, and Nicolas Loris at the Center for Free Markets and Regulatory Reform. (more…)
Rear Admiral Dave Titley on CNN: “This is a blatant attempt…to politicize the security aspect of climate change”
Yesterday, Christiane Amanpour of CNN spoke to Rear Admiral David W. Titley, USN (Ret), Senior Member of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board and former Oceanographer of the Navy, about the recent letter signed by 58 senior military and national security officials denouncing the William Happer-led process within the National Security Council to establish an adversarial climate change review panel. When asked why a group of people who aren’t normally vocal critics of Administration policy responded so vigorously to the proposed panel, Admiral Titley stated:
“What concerns so many of us who signed the letter is that this is really a blatant attempt by the National Security Council to politicize the security aspect of climate change.”
Watch a short clip here.
Watch the full interview here.
On March 6 the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new risk report titled “High-Risk Series: Substantial Efforts Needed to Achieve Greater Progress on High-Risk Areas.” The last such report was issued in 2017. While the study covers a number of high-risk issues, its findings on how the U.S. government is managing climate change risks are important to note. According to the report (page 45):
“In the 2 years since our last High-Risk Report, three areas—NASA Acquisition Management, Transforming EPA’s Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals, and Limiting the Federal Government’s Fiscal Exposure By Better Managing Climate Change Risks — have regressed in their ratings against our criteria for removal from the HighRisk List. (emphasis added)“