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Heeding the Intelligence Warnings of the Next Crisis

3By John Conger and Kate Guy

In the January 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, the Director of National Intelligence offered this clear prediction: “We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or largescale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability…”

It is hard to come up with a better description of the current crisis.

A few pages later, the report predicts that “global environmental and ecological degradation, as well as climate change, are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond. Climate hazards such as extreme weather, higher temperatures, droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, sea level rise, soil degradation, and acidifying oceans are intensifying, threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security.” (more…)

The Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent: The Urgent Need For a Climate-Security Governance Architecture

Rachel_FleishmanThis article was first published on AsiaGlobal Online (April 29, 2020)

By Rachel Fleishman

Today’s international security and governance architecture was born of the post-World War II period, when a conflict-weary world sought to prevent another clash of nation-state alliances drawn into battle by the expansionist actions of a few. Yet many modern security challenges do not fit neatly into postwar constructs, argues Rachel Fleishman of the Center for Climate and Security. Pandemics, mass migration and environmental degradation – and, most prominently, climate change – defy national borders and the world must prepare for concerted, coordinated action to prevent predictable cross-border threats.
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Heeding Warnings: World Meteorological Organization’s 2019 Report on the Global Climate

WHO_Global Climate 2019_CoverBy Dr. Marc Kodack

As a complement to the Center for Climate and Security’s recent post on the Intelligence Community’s warnings about pandemics, and climate change, in its’ 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, it’s worth re-visiting the World Meteorological Organization’s report summarizing the state of the global climate in 2019 (the report; a summary). This report also contains warnings that should be heeded and acted upon as soon as possible, rather than waiting for catastrophic risks to emerge. The report is based on the latest scientific research, and summaries are provided for key global climate variables including “global mean surface temperature, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content, global seal level, ocean acidification, sea-ice extent and the mass balance of glaciers and ice sheets.” These variables collectively affect short term weather events that then influence long-term climate changes, and the picture is one that should have all security analysts concerned. (more…)

Coronavirus Shows We Are Not At All Prepared For the Security Threat of Climate Change

KateGuy

Author: Kate Guy is a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Climate and Security

This is a cross-post of an article first published on The Conversation.

How might a single threat, even one deemed unlikely, spiral into an evolving global crisis which challenges the foundations of global security, economic stability and democratic governance, all in the matter of a few weeks?

My research on threats to national security, governance and geopolitics has focused on exactly this question, albeit with a focus on the disruptive potential of climate change, rather than a novel coronavirus. In recent work alongside intelligence and defence experts at the think-tank Center for Climate and Security, I analysed how future warming scenarios could disrupt security and governance worldwide throughout the 21st century. Our culminating report, A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change, was launched in Washington just as the first coronavirus cases were spreading undetected across the US. (more…)