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Climate Risks to the U.S. Energy System and Implications for National Security

CFR_Climate Risk Energy System_Sept 2019In a recently-published Council on Foreign Relations report on climate risks to the U.S. energy system, Center for Climate and Security (CCS) Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Joshua Busby, explores the links between climate risks to energy in the United States, and its implications for national security – including for the military. The article, “A Clear and Present Danger: Climate Risks, the Energy System, and U.S. National Security,” builds on CCS’s 2019 Military Expert Panel Report: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission, 2nd Edition, but extends beyond the military space – assessing risks to other critical infrastructure, energy systems and energy markets that are important for national security. The article offers both analysis and recommendations for next steps in terms of research and analysis. On the recommendations side, Dr. Busby notes (on page 64):

Energy-sector risks from climate change for bases (and surrounding communities) are the most obvious starting points for action, building off the 2018 and 2019 studies. A more challenging assessment would identify the metropolitan areas most at risk from climate-related humanitarian emergencies and the resource and organizational implications for different parts of the U.S. government, including the military. A further step would require assessing the extent to which international climate disruptions could have an effect on U.S. energy markets domestically or the extent to which disruptions to U.S. energy markets could have ripple effects internationally. Together, such analytical work could set the stage for productive priority setting and an inventory of actionable investments to shore up U.S. climate resilience.

Click here to read the full article (begins on page 54).

Department of Energy awards a $100 million grant to support desalination research

Wonthaggi_desalination_plant_DSC_6478By Marc Kodack

In December 2018 the Department of Energy (DOE) announced an intention to establish an Energy-Water Desalination Hub (Hub). On September 23, 2019, DOE announced the award of a five-year, $100 million grant to create the Hub to the National Alliance for Water Innovation led by the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The Alliance consists of multiple DOE labs, universities, and industry. The Hub’s water security focus will be on research and development “to provide low-cost alternatives that treat “non-traditional” water sources such as seawater, brackish water, and produced waters, for use in municipal and industrial water supplies, or to serve other water resource needs.” (more…)

The Climate Threat to the US Energy System

nato-energy-mc-190412-

Solar panels are tested during a NATO exercise in Hungary

In an article published in Defense One last week, Amy Myers Jaffe highlights the results of a March 2019 Council on Foreign Relations workshop with 44 experts (including the Director of the Center for Climate and Security, John Conger) titled “Climate Risk Impacts on the Energy System: Examining the Financial, Security, and Technological Dimensions.” The conversation was wide-ranging, exploring critical energy systems across both the civilian and military realms. On the military side of the ledger, the group raised serious concerns about the vulnerability of the Department of Defense’s energy supply to climate change-driven disruptions. In particular: (more…)

Release: Japan’s Economy is Exposed to Significant Security Risks from Climate Change, Experts Warn

Japanese Industry in an Unstable Climate_Cover_May 2019Climate Change Lessons From the US Military_For Japanese Industry_Cover_2019_5Tokyo, Japan, May 30, 2019 – Japan’s economic competitiveness is threatened by a heavy reliance on imports from countries that face multiple climate change-exacerbated security risks, and Japan can take lessons from the U.S. military’s vulnerabilities to climatic changes, according to two new Japan Series reports (here and here) from experts at The Center for Climate and Security, a think tank in Washington DC with a team and Advisory Board of senior military and security leaders. The reports come ahead of Japan’s hosting of two G20 ministerial meetings on Trade and Digital Economy (June 8-9) and Energy Transitions for Global Environment for Sustainable Growth (June 15-16). (more…)

The Climate and Security Podcast: Episode 8 with Michael Wu

Michael Wu_Climate and Security PodcastWelcome back to The Climate and Security Podcast!

In this episode, Michael Wu, Policy Fellow at The Center for Climate and Security and Principal of Converge Strategies, talks about the electric grid and its history. He discusses how the risk of long-term, widespread power outages is increasing as threats from natural disasters and adversaries increase. These threats mutually reinforce each another in that natural disasters make impacted areas more vulnerable to nefarious attacks.  He explains what electricity disruptions mean for Department of Defense mission completion as well as implications for our daily lives. Tune in to this informative discussion! (more…)

BRIEFER: The Climate-Nuclear-Security Nexus: A Collision Course or a Road to New Opportunities?

Ganges_River_near_Narora_Nuclear_Power_Plant_UP_IndiaBRIEFER: The Climate-Nuclear-Security Nexus: A Collision Course or a Road to New Opportunities?

By Christine Parthemore, Executive Director, The Center for Climate and Security

PDF version.

Today, new nations are pursuing civilian but dual-use nuclear capabilities, the threat of non-state actors seeking nuclear materials may be growing, and countries continue to debate proper ways to enhance nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation systems to keep up with the pace of change. At the same time, governments worldwide are having difficulty managing the effects of a rapidly changing climate, such as more damaging natural disasters and resource stress. The relationships among nuclear, climate, and security risks are growing more complex and interconnected, and these issues are likely to begin converging in new ways. By early 2016, it has become clear that the international community must take a fresh look at the ways in which they are likely to connect and potentially collide in the years ahead, and foster deeper dialogue on what should be done about it. (more…)

From India to Yemen: Blackouts, Heat Waves and Civil Unrest

Water_reservoir,_yemenTwo stories of blackouts this week filled the international headlines: one from India and another from Yemen. Located over two thousand miles away from each other, the two cases share a few characteristics: the respective governments’ inability to provide a steady power supply to their citizens, climate and water stress, and serious public discontent as a result. (more…)