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By John Conger
Sometimes you want to hear from the very top, and sometimes you want to get into the details. In the last couple of weeks, the U.S. Congress has done both, and each one teaches us something important about the way the Department of Defense (DoD) is planning to deal with climate change early in this Administration.
The first hearing described below included the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, covering a broad range of issues and setting the stage for the President’s budget release, which included climate change as a priority. The second addresses military infrastructure, which has been one of the key facets of the broader climate security portfolio within DoD. It is the part of the climate challenge that has imposed the largest direct cost on DoD so far, and countering it also involves significant investment. The second hearing gets into the details of this part of the portfolio.(more…)
“This executive order I’m signing today…makes it official that climate change will be the center of our national security and foreign policy.” — President Joe Biden, January 27, 2021
The big news this week was of course the Biden Administration’s Executive Order “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” In announcing the measure, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said:
“Today in the order that [President Biden] will sign he makes climate central to foreign policy planning, to diplomacy, and to national security preparedness. It creates new platforms to coordinate climate action across the federal agencies and departments, sorely needed. And most importantly, it commissions a national intelligence estimate on the security implications of climate change to give all of us an even deeper understanding of the challenge. This is the first time a president has ever done that.”
We at the Center for Climate and Security applauded this big step forward in an organizational statement, and dug deeper into what some of the provisions will mean for the US national security community in our panel event yesterday on the second pillar of our Climate Security Plan for America: Assess Climate Risks. You can catch up on the video from the event here.(more…)