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At a United Nations Security Council meeting in September 2021, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserted, “Look at almost every place where you see threats to international peace and security today – and you’ll find that climate change is making things less peaceful, less secure, and rendering our response even more challenging.” Earlier that month, in the U.S. Department of Defense’s Climate Adaptation Plan, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin similarly declared climate change to be a “destabilizing force” that is “demanding new missions” of the Department and “altering the operational environment.” These leaders are exactly right.
In this context it is imperative that the Biden Administration places the destabilizing role of climate change–and ecological security more broadly — at the center of the new National Defense Strategy (NDS). In fact, any NDS that does not consider climate change a central variable — as we have long recommended — will get things wrong when it comes to other core U.S. interests such as China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, terrorism and cybersecurity.(more…)
Today marks an important milestone in the execution of the Biden Administration’s climate security strategy. In accordance with the Executive Orders on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration, the White House, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Director of National Intelligence have just released four key reports: The Defense Climate Risk Analysis; an unclassified summary of the National Intelligence Estimate on the Security Implications of Climate Change; Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration; and a Department of Homeland Security Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate Change.
Together, these reports paint a sobering picture of the security risks posed by climate change, exploring not only the direct threats posed by climate hazards to human security, critical infrastructure, and military readiness, but also the secondary threats that emerge when climate effects intersect with other factors such as poor governance, existing state fragility, or violent extremism.
On November 17, 2021, the Center for Climate and Security will hold a virtual seminar discussing these reports and where the Biden Administration goes next. RSVP for this session, Analysis to Action: Advancing Climate Security in the Biden Administration here.
We will also will publish a series of posts examining each report in depth over the next week. Today, we begin with a look at the Defense Climate Risk Analysis.(more…)
The U.S. Congress Overrode Trump Veto on FY21 NDAA: Here are the Climate Security Highlights in the Bill
By John Conger
On January 1, the U.S. Senate voted to override Mr. Trump’s veto of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with an 81-13 vote. A few days earlier, the House voted 322-87 to override the veto. It is worth noting that the Statement of Administration Policy, which lists Mr. Trump’s objections to the bill, did not express opposition to any of its climate provisions.
This bill continues the trend we’ve seen in recent years of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees passing pragmatic climate security legislation without making it a political issue. In this bill, for example, Congress directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a strategy to follow up on its 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, essentially asking for a plan to climate proof the DoD. Given the signals the incoming Biden Administration has sent, there is every reason to expect it to develop an ambitious plan in response. It also continues the trend of expanding resilience authorities by granting broad authority to fund projects that improve the climate resilience of DoD installations – even when located on private land. (For those readers unfamiliar with the nuances of DoD funding, this is a big deal… and it’s important because climate change doesn’t recognize fence lines and sometimes the actions you need to take are outside the base.)(more…)
By John Conger
Every Administration makes changes to the draft budget they receive before it is submitted to Congress, and there’s every reason to expect that to be the case with a President Biden. The budget is supposed to be submitted by the first Monday in February, but that deadline is rarely met. Incoming Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush submitted their budgets in April, while President Barack Obama submitted his first budget in May. In this window, changes get made to better reflect the priorities of the incoming Administration.(more…)