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For many, the Arctic seems so remote that it may as well be on the moon. But the United States is very much an Arctic nation, and the security implications of climate change effects on the region are significant.
A new report from the Center for a New American Security, and a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives this week, provide much-needed attention to this critical issue, particularly in light of the lead-up to the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Both the report, and testimonies by Admiral Robert Papp, Jr., USCG (Ret), U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic, and Mr. Andrew Holland, Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate at the American Security Project, shed light on the importance of numerous emerging security challenges in the Arctic, including climate change. Details and links to both are listed below. (more…)
Our colleague Will Rogers, most recently the Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), is moving on to serve as military legislative assistant to Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii. As such, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the excellent work he has done for CNAS. Will’s contributions at CNAS included, among other leadership activities, articles in a number of their high-quality analytical products. (more…)
Slate’s Abraham Riesman published a piece yesterday titled: “Could Climate Change Be Al-Qaida’s Best Friend in Africa?” Riesman includes quotes from the Center for Climate and Security, as well as from our colleague Dr. Nancy Brune of the Center for a New American Security. The piece focuses on the social, economic, environmental and climatic factors associated with unrest in Mali and northwest Africa, and how those factors might relate to the strength of non-state actors, including terrorist organizations. Worth a look.
The Center for a New American Security has released a great resource page titled “Flashpoints: Security in the East and South China Seas,” which includes an interactive map of major international “flashpoints” in the seas since 1950. The page is worth spending some time on, particularly given the growing importance of the region in terms of international security, and the potentially volatile mix of climate change, food insecurity, resource extraction, trade and territorial dispute that characterize these important waters.
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a critical hearing yesterday on the benefits of U.S. accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Secretary or State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey all delivered testimonies strongly supporting ratification of the treaty by the U.S. Senate. You can find a video of their testimonies, as well as prepared comments, here. You can also find a good UNCLOS 101 by Will Rogers, as well as a full report on the treaty, at the CNAS website. (more…)
Last week, C2ES released a report titled Climate Change & International Security: The Arctic as a Bellwether. The report highlights the role that climate change in the Arctic plays in shaping the geopolitics of the post-Cold War world. The authors note that climatic shifts and subsequent shifts in the geopolitics of the Arctic demonstrate the importance of the linkages between climate change, energy security and economic stability. (more…)
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…)