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Coastal Cities, Climate and Security: Lessons from Katrina 10 Years Later

 New_Orleans_USACE-Blackhawk-A-09-04-05_0072By guest author, Lieutenant Colonel Gary Sargent, USA (ret)

Tomorrow, August 29th, marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans, and Americans viewed the wholesale destruction of a major US city by water and wind. Katrina presented a worrying picture of what may befall other coastal cities around the globe as water levels rise and the world faces a much more challenging, changing climate. Ten years later, lessons from the disaster are more relevant than ever. (more…)

U.S. Troops Deployed to Fight Wildfires in Drought-Stricken Western United States

The Alaska Army National Guard supported fire suppression efforts in June 2015 in and near Willow, Alaska. UH-60 Black Hawks from the 1-207th Aviation Regiment flew multiple missions, dipping their orange water buckets into waters east of Willow Lake and dropping thousands of gallons of water over the east side of the fire, about five miles north of Willow Airport. Sgt. Sonny Cooper, a crew chief for the 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, flew on a crew during firefighting efforts, and operated the water bucket during missions. (Photo courtesy of Sgt. Kevan Katkus)

The Alaska Army National Guard supported fire suppression efforts in June 2015 in and near Willow, Alaska.

This week 200 US Army Reserve troops were deployed to fight wildfires in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, joining thousands of firefighters and National Guardsmen who have been working to control one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, including some record-breaking wildfires that were visible from space. At least two firefighters have lost their lives this season. But this year’s wildfires have not been limited to the U.S. Pacific Northwest. (more…)

New Report from the Pentagon – Geographic Combatant Commands Already Addressing Climate Change Threat

U.S._Unified_Command_Plan_Map_2011-04-06Washington, D.C. — The Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a policy institute with an Advisory Board of senior retired military officers and national security experts, supports the U.S. Department of Defense’s recently-released report to Congress “National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks and a Changing Climate.”

Significantly, the report highlights what the U.S. Geographic Combatant Commands (GCCs) are already doing to address the climate threat. (more…)

Brazil: A Nation’s Churning Waterless Storm

Três Marias Reservoir, Minas Gerais Brazil - Planet Labs Satellite image. The Represa Três Marias, the result of damming the São Francisco river, is one of the largest reservoirs in Brazil. In 2014, Minas Gerais experienced one of the worst droughts of the last 50 years.

Três Marias Reservoir, Minas Gerais Brazil – Planet Labs Satellite image. The Represa Três Marias, the result of damming the São Francisco river, is one of the largest reservoirs in Brazil. In 2014, Minas Gerais experienced one of the worst droughts of the last 50 years.

By Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barrett, United States Navy (Retired)
Senior Research Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security

A convergence zone is defined as a location where two or more forces meet – characteristically marked by some form of turmoil. São Paulo, Brazil, home to over 20.1 million people, capital of the world’s 6th largest economy, and one of the most populous cities in the Americas, finds itself in the middle of a convergence zone increasingly being intensified by environmental variability. Brazil’s epic drought (now in its third year) is lamentably one of the most under-reported and least appreciated human security stories this year, but there are crucial insights to be learned from Brazil’s experience. These insights point to a need for policy making that is informed by a more nuanced understanding of the multi-dimensional impacts of climate change on human security and political stability, especially in cities across the Americas. (more…)

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