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A Climate Security Plan for America Part 2: Assess Climate Risks

By Erin Sikorsky

Part 2 of 4 in the Climate Security Plan for America blog series

See part 1, “Demonstrate Leadership,” here.

If the first pillar of the Climate Security Plan for America is all about leadership, the second pillar is about ensuring those leaders have the information they need to take decisive, effective action. In this section of the plan, we note that though climate change poses unprecedented risks, we’re also in a moment of unprecedented foresight – a combination that gives us a Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent. Advanced climate modeling allows us to project the implications of a range of emissions levels on risks such as sea level rise, rainfall variability, wildfires, impacts on biodiversity and marine and terrestrial ecosystems and functions, and new disease ranges. 

Foresight does not automatically translate to action, however. In order to leverage these models for national security insights, the U.S. government must have the personnel, programs, and systems in place to conduct robust and actionable assessments of climate risks. Our plan calls on the administration to “take advantage of unprecedented foresight about climate change.” President Biden’s new Executive Order (EO), Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, takes important steps in this direction–his actions and our recommendations for what should come next are below: 

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A Climate Security Plan for America Part 1: Demonstrate Leadership

By John Conger

Part 1 of 4 in the Climate Security Plan for America Blog Series

In late 2019, the Center for Climate and Security-led Climate Security Advisory Group, a group of senior U.S. national security and military experts, including eight retired four-star generals and admirals, published the A Climate Security Plan for America.  These leaders outlined a comprehensive plan to elevate climate change as a security priority and offered recommendations in four broad categories.  This blog discusses the first, Demonstrating Leadership.

As we stated in the report, we believed that in order to successfully counter climate security challenges, it must be an articulated priority of the U.S. President.  Check.  President-elect Biden has repeated often that he seeks to make climate change “a core national security priority.”  He named former Secretary Kerry as his “climate envoy” with a seat on the National Security Council.  For his own part, Secretary Kerry’s initial comments on his new role have focused on the security threat posed by climate change. 

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U.S. President-Elect Biden and the Climate Security Nexus: Recommendations for the Way Ahead

By John Conger

In the wake of the declaration that Former Vice President Joseph Biden will become the next President of the United States, we must consider what this means for climate security.  Make no mistake, there will be significant consequences for climate change and for national security separately, but our focus at the Center for Climate and Security is their nexus.  We will be exploring this in significant detail in the weeks ahead, but I wanted to offer two thoughts in the wake of the election result.

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John Conger and Alice Hill Call for a National Resilience Act

A Climate Security Plan for America_Report CoverIn a recent op-ed published in The Hill, the Center for Climate and Security’s Director, John Conger, and Board Member Alice Hill, call for a National Resilience Act requiring that all investments by the U.S. federal government be climate resilient.  This would entail ensuring that such investments undergo a “climate resilience review.” In short, all federal investments should be built to stand up against current and projected climatic changes.

Conger and Hill state that this law should be envisioned as part of a comprehensive nationwide “Climate and Security Infrastructure Initiative” – the kind outlined in the Center for Climate and Security’s Climate Security Plan for America. (more…)

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