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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.


HIGHLIGHTS: House Armed Services Committee Talks Climate Strategies and Resiliency 

By John Conger

On March 16, 2022, the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing to discuss matters dealing with energy, installations, and environment at the Department of Defense. The witnesses were Paul Cramer, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment); Paul Farnan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy and Environment); Meredith Berger, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment); and Ed Oshiba, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Energy, Installations, and Environment).  

While the subject of the hearing was broader than climate security, climate change policies played a central role in the discussion. Highlights included:


Climate Security Elements of the America COMPETES Act 

By Elsa Barron

The America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength Act of 2022, or the America COMPETES Act,  passed in the House of Representatives on Friday. The bill is focused on U.S. competition with China and includes several provisions that acknowledge the risks posed by climate change and are designed to help the U.S. prepare for and respond to its impact on security and competitiveness. The inclusion of these provisions demonstrates an understanding of climate change as a shaping security threat and reflects many of the recommendations in our Climate Security Plan for America, released in 2019.


U.S. House Hearing on the National Security Implications of Climate Change in the Arctic 

By Dr. Marc Kodack 

On November 20, the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber held a virtual hearing entitled “National Security Implications of Climate Change in the Arctic.” Witnesses providing written statements and answering questions included retired Admiral Paul Zukunft, Former Commandant of U.S. Coast Guard and an Advisory Board member with the Center for Climate and Security; Dr. Susan Natali, Arctic Program Director, Woodwell Climate Research Center; Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, Chairperson, Inuit Circumpolar Council, and Luke Coffey, Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy, The Heritage Foundation. 

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