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By John Conger
Both the U.S. House and Senate recently passed their versions of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, but it’s quite possible there will be a delay before a conference bill is completed. Rather than wait for the final version, this blog will review the climate change and resilience provisions in each version.
Each of these bills is built upon a legislative foundation that’s been developed over the last three years, that involved key steps such as a declaration that climate change poses a direct threat to the national security of the United States, a requirement that the Department of Defense (DoD) prioritize its vulnerabilities and send to Congress a list of its most vulnerable installations, expansion of existing authorities to incorporate climate considerations, improvements to building codes, and a requirement for DoD to conduct resilience planning at each of its installations (plans that will be for identifying next steps for shoring up the unique vulnerabilities at each location). A summary of these provisions can be found here. (more…)
Event: Center for Climate and Security Director to Speak to Congress Today on Climate Change Threats
UPDATE (7/15/2020): A recorded video of the event can now be found here.
At 3pm EST today, the Center for Climate and Security’s Director, the Hon. John Conger, will speak to the House Democratic Caucus National Security Task Force about climate change threats to security, in the wake of a new report from the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Mr. Conger’s comments will build from two major publications from the Center for Climate and Security that influenced the select committee’s work. The first, titled “A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change,” highlights the potentially severe-to-catastrophic security threats of climate change even at plausible lower emissions scenarios, and the second, titled “A Climate Security Plan for America: A Presidential Plan for Combating the Security Risks of Climate Change,” proposes a comprehensive federal plan for addressing climate security threats, in terms of both prevention/ mitigation and preparation/ adaptation. Click here for the livestream, once the event begins.
On Tuesday 30 June, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on the Climate Crisis issued a landmark report on the threats that climate change poses to the United States. Based on thousands of testimonies, inputs and recommendations from all sectors and regions of the country, the report outlines concrete legislative steps that the Committee recommends be taken to confront the challenge. In response, John Conger, Director of the Center for Climate and Security and former Deputy Comptroller of the U.S. Department of Defense, stated:
“We are pleased to see that the Committee’s report, “Solving the Climate Crisis”, recognizes the significant impacts of climate change on national security and includes several important recommendations in response. Their recommendations align with those that the Center for Climate and Security has embraced in its Climate Security Plan for America and A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change, and they build on the important bipartisan work of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. We urge both the Administration and the Congress to continue prioritizing response to address this important national security threat.”
Center for Climate and Security Director Conger Testifies Before Senate Special Committee on the Climate Crisis
On February 13, John Conger, Director of the Center for Climate and Security and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, testified before the U.S. Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis with Advisory Board Member Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, USN (Ret) and the Chief Operating Officer of the American Security Project Andrew Holland, discussing the implications of climate change on national security.
Here are links to the statements of Mr. Conger, RADM (Ret) Phillips, and Mr. Holland, as well as Senator Duckworth’s opening statement. While John Conger made a brief opening statement, he offered the Center for Climate and Security’s full Climate Security Plan for America as his submitted testimony. The hearing was summarized here by Hawaii Public Radio, but the full hearing video is worth a watch:
The Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis is a parallel to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, and is chaired by Senator Brian Schatz. The climate security hearing was led by Senator Tammy Duckworth.