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The Strategist: Combating climate change in the Asia–Pacific: lessons from the Marshall Plan

USAsiaPacifcRebalanceImageIn light of President Obama’s visit to Asia this week, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s The Strategist published an article yesterday by the Center for Climate and Security’s Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia titled “Combatting climate change in the Asia–Pacific: lessons from the Marshall Plan.” It is a shorter version of a piece published in our “U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change” report, which includes a foreword by former Commander of U.S. Pacific Command,  Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, USN (ret).

Defense Secretary Carter on the Strategic Implications of Climate Change

ash_carter_dod_secretary_portrait

Photo by US DoD

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter recently spoke to a group at the Commonwealth Club in California. His remarks touched on issues related to climate risks, including state stability, the oceans, and the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific (for more on this see “The U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change). The question and answer session following Sec. Carter’s remarks included a question specifically on what the Department of Defense was doing on climate change (transcribed below). In his response, Sec. Carter makes it very clear that climate change is a strategic threat to the Department of Defense, and something the military is watching closely.

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Photos and Videos: The U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change

Ellen Laipson, Sherri Goodman, Samuel Locklear, Eric Schwartz - "Schuyler Null/Wilson Center."

Ellen Laipson, Hon. Sherri Goodman, Admiral (ret) Samuel Locklear III, Eric Schwartz – “Schuyler Null/Wilson Center.”

On November 17, the Center for Climate and Security released its new report, “The U.S. Asia- Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change,” in partnership with the Center for New American Security, the University of Oxford and the Carnegie Mellon University Civil and Environmental Engineering Program.

The release was accompanied by a thought-provoking panel discussion between senior leaders in the national security, defense and diplomatic communities, including Admiral Samuel Locklear III, USN (Ret.), Former Commander of U.S. Pacific Command; Sherri Goodman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership; Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security); Eric Schwartz, Dean, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota; Former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration; and Ellen Laipson, Distinguished Fellow and President Emeritus, Henry L. Stimson Center; Former Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council; (more…)

New Report: The U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change

USAsiaPacifcRebalanceImageIf the United States is to “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific region  – building and broadening alliances, helping advance regional security and prosperity in the face of potentially catastrophic change, and advancing U.S. national security interests – it will have to seriously consider how climate change affects the region, how the U.S. can help advance the climate resilience of the region’s diverse nations, and how the U.S. will adapt strategically to a changed security environment. This new report, “The U.S. Asia- Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change,” published by the Center for Climate and Security, in partnership with the Carnegie Mellon University Civil and Environmental Engineering Program, the Center for New American Security and the University of Oxford, explores ways in which the effects of climate change will both shape, and be shaped by, the U.S. strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. It also offers solutions for how the effects of climate change can be addressed in a strategic way, through implementing region-wide “Climate-Security Plans,” adapting military infrastructure, and supporting key nations that are grappling with climate risks to their food, water and energy security. The report’s foreword, written by former U.S. Pacific Commander, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, III, USN (Ret), notes:

“As we seek to rebalance and reinvigorate our historic alliances, build new strategic and economic partnerships, and effectively posture our military in the Asia-Pacific for the 21st century, we must address the potentially catastrophic security implications of climate change in the Asia-Pacific and their likely impact on U.S. interests in the region.”
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The U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change: Report Launch & Discussion

Members_of_the_Papua_New_Guinea_Defense_Force_prepare_to_embark_aboard_the_Royal_Australian_Navy_landing_ship_heavy_HMAS_Tobruk_(L50)Please RSVP to join us on November 17, 2015 for the launch of our new report, The U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change, and a conversation between leaders from the defense, diplomacy and intelligence worlds.

The United States is in the early stages of what it characterizes as an “Asia-Pacific rebalance”. Essentially, this means that on a very broad strategic scale, the United States intends to reorient its foreign policy and national security posture to the Asia-Pacific region, which is host to burgeoning populations, growing economies, strategic choke-points like the South China Sea, and a number of rising powers. But the region is also one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with a growing coastal population, rising seas, numerous critical waterways fed by glaciers, threatened island states, increased drying, and projections of severe water insecurity in the near future.

In this context, the effects of climate change are likely to both shape, and be shaped by, the U.S. role in the Asia-Pacific. (more…)

Australian Defence Force: Aligning Climate Security Strategy with US & UK

Australian peacekeepers unload engineering equipment. Photo by, Australian Civil-Military Centre

Australian peacekeepers unload engineering equipment. Photo by, Australian Civil-Military Centre

The Australian Climate Council recently released a report: “Be Prepared: Climate Change, Security and Australia’s Defence Force.” The report provides a good overview of climate change risks to national security and adds a critical look at how the Australian Defence Force is (and is not) preparing for those risks, and how this compares to US and UK defense forces. The report draws from an international team of reviewers including CCS advisory board member Rear Admiral Dave Titley USN (Ret), as well as Professor Jon Barnett, Professor Alan Dupont, Captain Leo Goff, USN (ret.), Dr. Liz Hanna, and Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti RN (ret.). (more…)

Recommended Reading: Sea Change Evolving Maritime Geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific Region

Map by, Eric Gaba (Sting - fr:Sting)

Map by, Eric Gaba (Sting – fr:Sting)

The Stimson Center and India’s Observer Research Foundation recently partnered on a project exploring evolving trends that intersect with natural resources in the Indo-Pacific region. This project produced Sea Change: Evolving Maritime Geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific Region. The report covers a wide geography, and some of the most critical crossroads of the 21st century. It  ranges from sea lanes to security partnerships, to fisheries. Essentially, it covers issues that may not be on every security analysts’ list of important issues, but should be. (more…)