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Council on Strategic Risks Launches New Arctic Security Report, in Partnership with Woodwell Climate Research Center
June 21 2021 — The Council on Strategic Risks’ Converging Risks Lab and the Woodwell Climate Research Center release a new report today, Temperatures and Tensions Rise: Security and Climate Risks in the Arctic. The publication includes groundbreaking new analysis on the implications of thawing permafrost across the Arctic region for security infrastructure, as well as modeling of the potential security implications of rapid changes in ice loss, temperature change, and growing regional activity.
An interactive story map analysis of this research was launched in May 2021 in support of the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. Together, the story map analysis and detailed report provide important new tools for security actors increasingly asked to interact in a rapidly changing Northern climate.
While previous research has examined rising tensions and future security scenarios in the Arctic, few publications have worked directly with climate scientists to model how changing climate realities in the fastest warming region on Earth could interact with these human activities. With each passing year, military and private activity in the region grows rapidly, and these forces will be forced to interact with growing extreme weather, ice variability, and permafrost thaw in the North due to warming temperatures.(more…)
Ahead of Arctic Council Meeting, New “Story Map” Analysis Outlines Mounting Climate Change Risks to Arctic Security
May 18, 2021 — Today, ahead of Thursday’s Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, the Council on Strategic Risks’ Converging Risks Lab and the Woodwell Climate Research Center release a new “story map” analysis of the major impacts climate change and permafrost thaw will have on defense infrastructure and security operations in the Arctic. It shows that against a backdrop of regional warming, Arctic nations are increasingly competing alongside the accelerating and dangerous impacts of climate change.
The forthcoming report whose findings are previewed this week in the “story map” analysis titled “Temperatures and Tensions Rise: Security and Climate Risks in the Arctic,” combines the latest climate projections with security analysis. It examine two main trends that will experience significant change in the Arctic and result in new challenges: rapid environmental shifts that will destabilize the region, including loss of sea ice, new temperature extremes, warming oceans, permafrost thaw, and biodiversity changes, and an influx of new human activity, including resource extraction, development, use of new shipping lanes, and military traffic. The story map analysis derived from the forthcoming report includes detailed regional maps overlaying the extent of these climate changes and their future projections alongside increasing human and security activities in the region.
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…)