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UPDATE (3/12/2021): Streaming Live here.
Climate change is rapidly changing the Arctic at the same time that security tensions are heightened across the region. How will future climate impacts affect the security environment, operations, and infrastructure of the region? How do Arctic nations understand the changing risk landscape? How can Arctic nations move forward on a “low tension, high effort” agenda in the climate era?
This panel will feature a high-level discussion on the intersection of climate change and security in the Arctic, followed by a dialogue on opportunities to manage future security risks in the region. Panelists will build on the findings and recommendations of two new reports from CCS and its partners: Climate Change and Security in the Arctic and A Climate Security Plan for Canada.
RELEASE: New Report by Security Experts Warns of “Great Power Conflict” Potential in Arctic if Climate Change Uncurbed
Washington DC, January 27, 2021 — Today’s forthcoming climate announcements by the Biden Administration speak to the urgency of addressing climate change threats to security. These realities are nowhere more visible than in the Arctic, where the onset of climate change presents dangerous new realities for great power competition and conflict.
A new report, Climate Change and Security in the Arctic, released today by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), an Institute of the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR), together with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), assesses the growing security risks posed by a warming climate in one of the most rapidly changing regions on Earth. The report concludes that the risks posed by uncurbed warming include the potential for new conflicts, the breakdown of multilateral cooperation, and rising great power tensions. The analysis looks at two future warming scenarios (curbed and uncurbed) to project security threats alongside potential environmental changes deemed likely in the High North by 2030.
The analysis identifies a number of key Arctic climate security risks across both warming scenarios, but notes that the risks are more severe and more likely in an “uncurbed” warming scenario. In a “curbed” scenario in which the world takes rapid action to curb climate change, including by transforming energy use, decarbonizing the global economy, and building international institutions to manage climate risks, the Arctic is likely to see fewer opportunities for severe security risks. The report recommends integrating this climate risk analysis into Arctic planning strategies into the coming years, and avoiding the uncurbed warming scenario.(more…)
Is climate change shaping U.S. Arctic posture? For much of its modern history, the U.S. has been considered a reluctant Arctic state, given its limited interest in the High North. In 2015, a survey by the Arctic Studio conducted in the U.S. found a greater affinity among Americans for the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, and the Pacific than the Arctic. Anecdotes such as the Seward’s icebox, or the answer sent by President Taft to the discoverer of the North Pole, Robert Peary (“I do not know exactly what I could do with it”), or the “Forgotten War” fought in the Aleutians, are usually quoted as proof of the minimalist US posture towards the Arctic.(more…)
By Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (ret.) and Annabelle Leahy
The pandemic of Covid-19 has tremendous and largely unknown implications for global health, security, and economic prosperity, but as we work diligently to steer the future toward positive outcomes, we must not lose track of the growing challenges and opportunities that continually unfold with another well-known but not well-understood global phenomenon — the ocean.
The ocean and its resources are inextricably tied to human health, the economy, and security. The link between the environment, particularly the ocean, and human health, is an area of increasing global importance as climate change increases the incidence of toxin release from harmful algal blooms, damage from catastrophic weather events, and potential for contagion from waterborne viruses and bacteria. These threats are not just related to health but also to security. Climate change is a core systemic risk to the 21st century world, and we must specifically address the ocean in this discussion.(more…)