CCS and IMCCS to Host Events on Food Security and the Clean Energy Transition at the Munich Security Conference
The Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) in partnership with NATO look forward to hosting innovative conversations on key climate security issues, including food security and the clean energy transition, at the Munich Security Conference set to take place February 17-19, 2023.
Climate change is a strategically significant security risk that will affect our most basic resources, including food, with potentially dire security ramifications. National and international security communities, including militaries and intelligence agencies, understand these risks and are taking action to anticipate them. However, progress in mitigating these risks will require deeper collaboration among the climate change, agriculture and food security, and national security communities through targeted research, policy development, and community building.
In order to address these challenges, CCS will host an interactive roundtable under the title “Feeding Climate Resilience: Mapping the Security Benefits of Agriculture and Climate Adaptation” with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, featuring a high-level discussion aimed at identifying further areas of cooperation among these sectors and exploring possible areas for policy action.
The Clean Energy Transition
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent global energy crisis, coupled with the last few years of unprecedented extreme heat, droughts, and floods, have revealed a new, more complex security reality for NATO countries. Navigating this reality requires militaries to systematically recognize the opportunities and challenges that exist within the nexus between climate change and security, and the global clean energy transition.
The deterioration in Euro-Atlantic security will lead to increases in Alliance military procurement as well as the intensity of training, exercising, and patrolling. Such investment decisions can maintain and enhance operational effectiveness and collective defense requirements by taking advantage of the innovative solutions offered by the green energy transition that are designed for future operating environments while contributing to individual countries’ UNFCCC Paris Agreement commitments. However, it is also important to identify and mitigate new dependencies created by a switch from Russian fossil fuels to a critical minerals supply chain currently dominated by China and to think holistically about interoperability and other factors of relevance to the Alliance.
A roundtable discussion titled “Cleaner and Meaner: The Military Energy Transition by Design” and hosted by IMCCS and NATO will identify key opportunities to speed NATO militaries’ transition to clean energy, as well as challenges/obstacles that require cooperation and strategic planning across the Alliance. The conversation will seek to identify next steps for NATO countries, including through technological innovation and partnerships with the private sector, and builds on conversations about the implementation of climate security planning hosted by IMCCS and NATO at the 2022 conference.
Follow us here and on social media for more coming out of this year’s conversations at MSC.
New Report: Climate Security Scenarios for Sweden
By Erin Sikorsky and Brigitte Hugh | Edited by Francesco Femia
A new event report from the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), sponsored by Försvarshögskolan (Swedish Defence University), Climate Security Scenarios for Sweden explores Sweden’s security risks in the midst of external climate hazards exacerbated by warming temperatures and intense precipitation.
To assess these risks, the Center for Climate and Security and the Swedish Defence University convened leaders from across sectors of military, academia, civil society and the private sector to explore whole-of-society approaches that can be implemented throughout Sweden over the next five years.
From the Introduction:
In the coming decades, Sweden will face increasing security risks due to climate change. These risks stem primarily from climate hazards outside Sweden’s borders, though warming temperatures and increasingly erratic and intense precipitation may strain the country’s domestic military, energy, and economic infrastructure. External climate security game changers for Sweden include the potential for aggressive Russian and Chinese behavior in a more navigable Arctic, strains on the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) due to increasing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) demands, and the potential for reactionary European political responses to climate-related migration from the Middle East and North Africa. These threats are unlikely to develop on straightforward linear pathways, as climate change intersects with other developments to cause cascading or complex risks. Tipping points – whether from climate change or from societal developments – could amplify these risks on a shorter timeline than expected.
Navigating these risks requires a whole-of-society approach across Sweden that breaks down planning and programmatic siloes among government ministries, civil society and the private sector. To that end, in October 2022, the Swedish Defence University and the Center for Climate and Security convened a cross section of leaders from the military, academia, civil society and the private sector to explore potential future climate security scenarios for Sweden over the next five years. This paper provides an overview of the key findings of the scenarios discussion, including a discussion of drivers of climate security risk, and entry points for action and further research going forward.
Direct inquiries to: Andrew Facini, afacini [at] csrisks.org
Cover image: A satellite image of the Fennoscandian Peninsula, Denmark, and other areas surrounding the Baltic Sea covered in snow. Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres/ NASA GSFC.
BRIEFER: The Forgotten Countries in the “Muddy Middle” of Climate Security Risk: A Case for Addressing the Gap
By Tom Ellison
Climate security analysis lends itself to focusing on the extremes among countries, whether the greenhouse gas trajectories of the highest emitting countries or the adaptation challenges in the most exposed. This is evident in the (understandable) focus on the ten or 20 most climate vulnerable countries, where climate-related security impacts are most clear. However, with climate impacts set to worsen for decades even in a best-case emissions scenario, climate-related security challenges will continue to intensify in countries that are not considered the most vulnerable today–those in the “muddy middle” of climate vulnerability rankings. These countries get less attention because they are not top-5 emitters, great power rivals, or conflict-ridden crisis areas, but they are places where climate risks are less certain and where increased instability could be globally consequential.
This pitfall can be seen in the wide use of climate vulnerability indices by governments, civil society, journalists, and the private sector to measure countries’ vulnerability to climate change. Such indices have their place, but they can obscure aspects of climate security risks in countries with mixed or unremarkable scores.
This Briefer explores the limits of such rankings, examines the various climate-security risks of those countries in the “muddy middle,” and suggests analytical framing that can help reinforce the visibility of those risks faced in such countries:
Questions for country analysts to consider might include: How will climate change and the energy transition lift or depress the value of economic assets important to this country’s political forces? How might climate extremes align with existing social divisions, misinformation narratives, or cultural flashpoints, amplifying the impact of both? How could climate change or policies spur destabilizing grievances, by violating local expectations of governance, regardless of the level of absolute deprivation?
BRIEFER: Breaking Silos: Climate Change, Security, and Humanitarian Action—Roundtable Summary
By Elsa Barron, Brigitte Hugh, and Alejandra Portillo-Taylor
Edited by Francesco Femia and Erin Sikorsky
This briefer co-published with the International Committee of the Red Cross
The convergence of climate change, security, and humanitarian action, including in places affected by conflict, demands nuanced consideration and dialogue among decision makers at all levels. In response to this need for dialogue, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) brought together representatives from a variety of U.S. government agencies as well as academic institutions, think tanks, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) approaching these issues from different but complementary vantage points. The discussion explored how relevant actors can work together to anticipate, mitigate, and respond to the humanitarian consequences brought on by the intersection of climate risks and conflict—both now and in the future.
The purpose of this briefer is to highlight key elements of that discussion—namely, challenges and opportunities for current procedures addressing conflict and climate consequences, and in developing knowledge.(more…)