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Conclusions from the NRC Report “Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis”

The National Research Council’s recently released report “Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis,” commissioned by the CIA, has been released, and contains a lot of interesting information and recommendations. Leaving most of the analysis for you to read, we wanted to highlight some of the report’s conclusions and recommendations. The report brief indicates that the conclusions fall under three broad categories: “…climate-security connections; improving understanding, monitoring, and analysis; and anticipating climate-related threats.” Below are excerpts of the conclusions, from the report brief, under each heading: (more…)

National Research Council’s Climate and Security Report Release Delayed by Sandy

As indicated in a press release from the National Academies, the release of a long-awaited study by the National Research Council titled “Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis,” has been temporarily postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. The Huffington Post reported on the rationale:

John D. Steinbruner, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland and the chair of the 14-member panel of experts who conducted the analysis, said in an email message that CIA sponsors must be briefed on the report before it is publicly released.

That briefing was to occur on Tuesday, Steinbruner said, but the federal government was closed due to Sandy, a storm that many scientists suggest may have been energized in part by warmer ocean temperatures and other byproducts of global warming.

According to Steinbruner, the CIA briefing will likely be rescheduled for this week.

Climate and Security 101: Why the U.S. National Security Establishment Takes Climate Change Seriously

In a 2007 report by the CNA Military Advisory Board, General Gordon R. Sullivan stated: “People are saying they want to be perfectly convinced about climate science projections…But speaking as a soldier, we never have 100 percent certainty. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield.”

The national security establishment in the United States, including the U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence community, understand that climate change is a national security threat, and that we cannot wait for 100% certainty before acting to mitigate and adapt to its effects. But not only do they understand it, they plan for it – considering it’s implications in strategic documents like the Quadrennial Defense Review, and setting up an office within the CIA called the Center for Climate Change and National Security. But why? (more…)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Climate Change and National Security

At a speech in Kentucky last Thursday, Secretary of Defense Panetta was asked a question on the implications of climate change for national security, and the future of the Defense Department. Secretary Panetta gave a thoughtful response, highlighting the security impacts of climate-aggravated drought, sea level rise and Arctic melt. (more…)

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