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U.S. Congress Continues to Address Climate Change in Defense and Intelligence Legislation

Rain_on_Capitol_Hill

By John Conger

In the final version of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress included multiple important climate security provisions that will significantly increase Department of Defense (DoD) installations’ resilience to climate change. This continues a tradition of bipartisan cooperation on including climate change provisions in the NDAA, including during the last and current Congress (including the FY2018 NDAA, which identified climate change as a “direct threat” to national security. This year’s bill includes a number of significant steps forward, such as funding for climate resilience projects, and the creation of a Climate and Security Council within the Intelligence Community (a long-standing priority for the Center for Climate and Security). Below is a summary of the climate security provisions in the final version of the NDAA. (more…)

New Zealand Defence Releases Climate Change Implementation Plan

NZ Defence_Climate Crisis Report Cover_2019On December 8, 2019, the New Zealand Minister of Defence Hon. Ron Mark, with Minister for Climate Change Hon James Shaw, released a Climate Change Implementation Work Plan for its defence force, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan. The plan was co-produced by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force, and follows on the heels of the Defence Capability Plan released in June, which included the “Climate Crisis” as one of its key chapters. To read the full report, click here, and to read the press release, click here. A contact in the New Zealand Ministry of Defence sent along the following summary: (more…)

Defense Planning Can Guide the National Response to Storms and Rising Seas

Peterson_A New Coast.jpgBy Jeffrey Peterson
Author of the new book “A New Coast: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms and Rising Seas”

The United States Department of Defense is coming to grips with the implications of climate change for national security, including the threat that more severe coastal storms and rising sea level pose to domestic military bases.

Because military bases depend on surrounding communities, decisions about how to protect or relocate military facilities need to be made in cooperation with state and local officials. More importantly, a determined effort by the Department of Defense to prepare bases for storms and rising seas could prove to be a catalyst that prompts the country as a whole to better recognize and respond to these risks. (more…)

Robert Taylor Joins the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board

Taylor, Robert

The Center for Climate and Security is pleased and honored to announce that Robert S. Taylor has joined its distinguished Advisory Board of military and national security leaders. Bob is currently the General Counsel of MCE Social Capital, an entity dedicated to providing financing and support to microfinance and other organizations in roughly 40 countries throughout the developing world.  In this position, Bob is addressing the challenge of lifting people and regions out of poverty in a sustainable fashion. In addition, Bob is a veteran of the Department of Defense (DoD), where he served as Principal Deputy General Counsel (PDGC) of DoD from 2009 to 2017. He spent nearly two of those years as Acting General Counsel.  He also served as the first Deputy General Counsel (Environment and Installations) in DoD, from 1995 to 2002. (more…)

Climate Change as a Threat Multiplier for Instability: Bloomberg

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Sherri Goodman on Bloomberg TV, September 20, 2019

On Friday September 20, Bloomberg TV interviewed the Center for Climate and Security’s Senior Strategist, Sherri Goodman, to discuss the role of climate change as a “threat multiplier” for instability – an apt term coined by the CNA’s Military Advisory Board back in 2007 under Sherri Goodman’s leadership. During the interview, Sherri was asked what her number one recommendation would be if she were still in her prior role as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Environmental Security, and channeling the Center for Climate and Security’s Responsibility to Prepare framework, she stated:

My number one recommendation would be to incorporate this [climate change] into every aspect of defense planning, policy and programming, so that we are clear-eyed about what risks we face – the unprecedented risks – but also the unprecedented opportunities to seize the technology advantages, to move to lower carbon energy futures, and at the same time to take advantage of predictive analytics that will help us better understand these risks where they are occurring, and to be able to address them on a closer real-time basis.

The full interview is worth a listen (below and here).

 

NPR on Climate and Security Scenarios with Francesco Femia

Offutt Air Force Base_battling_flood_waters_190317-F-IT794-1053

An aerial view of Offutt Air Force Base affected by major flood damage, March 17, 2019 (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake)

In yesterday’s episode of NPR’s On Point, Meghna Chakrabarti interviewed journalist Emily Atkin and Francesco Femia, the Council on Strategic Risks’ CEO and Co-Founder of the Center for Climate and Security, to discuss the implications of climate change for global instability and conflict. The show built upon an article in the New Republic by Emily Atkin, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, exploring a catastrophic 2100 climate scenario. Francesco touched on a number of topics, including climate risks to military installations, the growing bipartisan U.S. national security consensus on climate change and security (including across the intelligence and defense community), as well as the strategic benefits of U.S. investments in climate prevention and preparation (and conversely, the strategic negatives, vis-a-vis its competitors and adversaries, of doing nothing). Listen to the On Point episode here. The segment with Francesco Femia starts at 25:05, but the full show is worth a listen.

U.S. Department of Defense Funds Research on Capturing Water from Fog

Marine_Fog_Pattern_Moon Bay

Marine fog rolls in at Half Moon Bay, California

By Marc Kodack

Ensuring sufficient potable water supplies are available for its military and humanitarian operations, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will be challenged to meet these potable water needs as climate change and its effects on water supply are felt around the world. To help address this, DoD awarded a grant to California State University, Monterrey Bay to test the efficiencies of capturing water, via mesh-based devices, from “fog events” along coastal California. The grant was from DoD’s Research and Education Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Minority-Serving Institutions. A mesh device produces potable water that can be used by people and for irrigation. The research will also “expand knowledge about the generation and dissipation of fog” using existing droplet measuring technology.