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Climate Security Implications of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act

By Erin Sikorsky

Late last week, the U.S. Congress passed landmark climate legislation in the form of the Inflation Reduction Act. This legislation will speed up deployment of clean energy and lower US carbon emissions by about 40 percent from 2005 levels, closing two-thirds of the remaining gap between current policies and the US climate target of a 50 percent reduction in emissions by 2030. The legislation has multiple implications for U.S. climate security going forward—including helping prevent the worst security outcomes of unchecked emissions, bolstering U.S. credibility as it pushes other countries to reduce emissions, improving U.S. energy reliability and resilience, and complementing Department of Defense efforts to curb its own emissions in hard to decarbonize sectors. 

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Event: U.S. Climate Security Investments: Changing Plans into Actions

By Brigitte Hugh

Join the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) on June 14, 2022 at 2 p.m. EST for a panel discussion featuring senior U.S. government officials to discuss the climate funding included in the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Budget Request (register here).

Participants include:

  • Joe Bryan, Senior Advisor for Climate, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense
  • Teresa Pohlman, Executive Director of Environmental and Sustainability Programs, Department of Homeland Security 
  • Gillian Caldwell, Chief Climate Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Jesse Young, Senior Advisor, Office of the Senior Presidential Envoy for Climate, U.S. State Department

Earlier this year, the Climate and Security Advisory Group published the report, Challenge Accepted, which lauded the fact that the Administration had declared climate change to be an essential element of national security and foreign policy, but called upon the U.S. government to move from words to deeds.

A key ingredient in accomplishing the aims of established U.S. climate security strategy is the financial resources necessary to fuel the transformation from plans to action. The President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request, submitted to Congress in March, proposes an unprecedented amount of funding dedicated to addressing climate security issues. Which provokes questions like: Is it enough? Is it in the right places? And what forward progress will it actually enable? 

Register to attend here.

Integrating Climate Change into the US Global Fragility Strategy: A New “Prologue”

By Erin Sikorsky

In early April, the Biden Administration released a “prologue” to the US Global Fragility Strategy, also known as the Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability. The initial document was developed under the Trump Administration in response to requirements in the Global Fragility Act (GFA). Congress passed the GFA in 2019 with bipartisan support, the goal of which was to create a new approach to preventing conflict in fragile states by bringing a whole of government, silo-busting strategy to foreign assistance and diplomacy. This type of coordinated, multi-sectoral process is exactly what is needed to ensure climate considerations are well integrated into US foreign policy, and the prologue takes two important steps forward in this direction.

First, the new prologue explicitly discusses the role of climate change in shaping state fragility and risks of conflict – a glaring omission in the original strategy. The document states:

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U.S. House Adaptation Hearings Offer Insights for Climate Security Action

By Elsa Barron

In early March, the U.S. House of Representatives hosted two hearings on climate adaptation in the United States. Given the current and future risks posed by climate change, including sea-level rise, intensifying natural disasters, and extreme temperatures, creating a plan to respond and adapt to climate change is crucial for ensuring security. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing titled Federal Climate Adaptation and Resilience for the 21st Century and the House Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing was named Confronting Climate Impacts: Federal Strategies for Equitable Adaptation and Resilience. These hearings closely followed the release of the IPCC Working Group II (WGII) report focused on climate impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. An analysis by the Center for Climate and Security on the WGII contribution notes that, “In the near-term, vulnerability and exposure of natural and human systems to climate-related risks will depend more on the actions taken to adapt, or lack thereof, than on climate hazards themselves.” Therefore, it is critical for all sectors of government to prepare for climate security impacts and prevent them from having their worst effects.

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