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“How is Canada preparing to address the environmental impacts on security?” That was the question debated in a packed auditorium at the Canadian Forces College (CFC) on 12 February, 2020. The “Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear” Symposium hosted by the Canadian Forces College (Toronto, Canada) was organized by the College’s Department of Innovative Studies and aimed to sensitize participating students, both Canadian and international (to include audiences tuning in from the United Nations, and the Baltic Defence College) on the security implications of climate change. The expert opinions provided by both Canadian and American national security advisors and analysts, to include Center for Climate and Security Fellows Captain Steve Brock and Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barrett (both US Navy, retired), helped to frame, and imbue an enhanced understanding of, how Canada’s national and human security imperatives fit into the climate change discourse. (more…)
By Ladeene Freimuth, Special Guest Contributor
As we begin a new decade and move further into the 21st century, increasing U.S. leadership and security in the Arctic are vital, in light of the growing threats America faces there. The U.S. cannot lose sight of important geostrategic changes occurring vis-a-vis the Arctic, due to the “threat multiplier” effects of climate change, which are exacerbating the security challenges for the U.S. there and elsewhere around the globe.
A recent hearing on the “Expanding Opportunities, Challenges, and Threats in the Arctic” in the Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation sought to highlight this need for the U.S. to reassert its leadership in the Arctic by examining climate change and national security challenges and opportunities in the region, with an emphasis on the U.S. Coast Guard’s strategic role. Climate impacts are “reshaping the strategic operating environment for the Coast Guard in the Arctic, and around the world,” as the Honorable Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist for the Center for Climate and Security, testified before the Subcommittee. In 2018, former Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, stated that the U.S. needs to “up its game” in the Arctic, because the U.S. is inadequately prepared for the changing threat environment there. (more…)
Welcome back to The Climate and Security Podcast!
In this episode, host Dr. Sweta Chakraborty talks to the “Godmother of Climate and Security,” Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist with the Center for Climate and Security. Sweta asks Sherri about the Arctic, which is changing faster than any other place on Earth! Sherri explains how the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet–destabilizing infrastructure and resulting in a new ocean. She describes climate change is a “threat multiplier” (a term she coined!) in that it amplifies the impacts to various aspects of our lives, from the food we eat to the water we drink and to where we choose to live. This is an episode not to be missed!
The Time for “What’s Next?” is Now: Preparing for a Climate Changed Future Within our Military and Coastal Communities
By Madeleine Terry, Elizabeth Andrews and Heather Messera
The widespread effects of Arctic melting and climate change on our society and overall well-being are relatively well understood today, but what about the effects of climate change on national security? Unbeknownst to many, the impact of sea level rise on our country’s national security infrastructure is concerning now and becoming more threatening every day. On Monday, July 9, 2018, The Center for Climate and Security , the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary (W&M) Law School, and the W&M Whole of Government Center of Excellence held a forum on preparing for this climate changed future, addressing the impacts that climate change will have on our military and coastal communities and national security efforts as a whole.
Read the full article in the Small Wars Journal here.
“The damn thing melted” – Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer on the Arctic, April 19, 2018
Over just the past few days, three senior military leaders from the Air Force and the Navy have raised significant concerns about the effects of climate change on the military mission in the Arctic.
First, on Tuesday, April 17, 4-star Air Force General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding his nomination to be Commander of United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM), and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). While the full hearing is worth watching (including the comments of Admiral Davidson, the PACOM nominee), a notable exchange on climate change between Senator Blumenthal and General O’Shaughnessy occurred at the 1:27:08 minute mark. Asked about whether or not climate change presents strategic challenges in the Arctic – part of NORTHCOMs and NORADs Area of Responsibility (AoR) – General O’Shaughnessy replied “Senator, it absolutely does.” General O’Shaughnessy then went on to detail increases in activity in a thawing Arctic, highlighting the need to consider strategic competition in the region with Russia and China. (more…)
Climate change impacts security in myriad ways and on multiple scales, from local infrastructure to international geopolitics. At the Center for Climate and Security, that has been reflected in a range of analysis covering these multiple types and levels of security risk, including a report on sea level rise and its impact on U.S. military infrastructure, and another on the connections between climate change and the Arab Spring. However, new risks are emerging seemingly every day, and some of them remain under-explored. Most recently, we conducted a pioneering look at the intersection of climate, security and nuclear affairs (including nuclear security and proliferation), bringing together experts from both fields to produce a roadmap for how these risks might be understood and managed together, rather than separately. In this context, a new journal article from Jeff Colgan explores new risks that are literally emerging from the ice, as Arctic melting reveals nuclear waste at an (abandoned) military site in Greenland. See his writeup – a cross-post from the New Security Beat – below. (more…)
It is not news that Twitter, for better or worse, has reached a new level of prominence in the political dialogue. As part of this new landscape, The Atlantic Council hosted a virtual “Twitter Town Hall on Nordic Contributions to Global Security” where people could submit questions directly to five Nordic country ambassadors to the US: Karin Olfsdotter of Sweden, Geir H. Haarde of Iceland, Kåre R. Aas of Norwary, Lars Gert Lose of Denmark, and Kirsti Kauppi of Finland. The Center for Climate and Security took the opportunity to ask the ambassadors a question on climate and security (naturally), and the ambassadors responded. The climate and security portion of the discussion is copied below, and the full town hall discussion is available on Twitter at #AskNordicAmbs. Thank you to the Atlantic Council and the ambassadors for the opportunity. (more…)