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“This executive order I’m signing today…makes it official that climate change will be the center of our national security and foreign policy.” — President Joe Biden, January 27, 2021
The big news this week was of course the Biden Administration’s Executive Order “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” In announcing the measure, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said:
“Today in the order that [President Biden] will sign he makes climate central to foreign policy planning, to diplomacy, and to national security preparedness. It creates new platforms to coordinate climate action across the federal agencies and departments, sorely needed. And most importantly, it commissions a national intelligence estimate on the security implications of climate change to give all of us an even deeper understanding of the challenge. This is the first time a president has ever done that.”
We at the Center for Climate and Security applauded this big step forward in an organizational statement, and dug deeper into what some of the provisions will mean for the US national security community in our panel event yesterday on the second pillar of our Climate Security Plan for America: Assess Climate Risks. You can catch up on the video from the event here.(more…)
By John Conger
Part 1 of 4 in the Climate Security Plan for America Blog Series
In late 2019, the Center for Climate and Security-led Climate Security Advisory Group, a group of senior U.S. national security and military experts, including eight retired four-star generals and admirals, published the A Climate Security Plan for America. These leaders outlined a comprehensive plan to elevate climate change as a security priority and offered recommendations in four broad categories. This blog discusses the first, Demonstrating Leadership.
As we stated in the report, we believed that in order to successfully counter climate security challenges, it must be an articulated priority of the U.S. President. Check. President-elect Biden has repeated often that he seeks to make climate change “a core national security priority.” He named former Secretary Kerry as his “climate envoy” with a seat on the National Security Council. For his own part, Secretary Kerry’s initial comments on his new role have focused on the security threat posed by climate change.(more…)
By Kate Guy
From the outset of Joe Biden’s run for the American presidency, he pledged to look at national security with fresh eyes. Evolving systemic threats like climate change, often relegated to the portfolios of environmental experts and science agencies, were repeatedly mentioned in his plans to remake U.S. defense and foreign policy. “Climate change is the existential threat to humanity,” he often reiterated in the closing days of his campaign.
Now, with the first members of President-elect Biden’s national security team announced, it’s clear that he has taken the first steps to make good on these campaign promises. In the past few years, nominees like Blinken, Sullivan, and Haines have each referenced the need for the U.S. to prioritize addressing climate change in its approach to global challenges. And with the creation of a cabinet-level Presidential Climate Envoy, long-time climate security leader John Kerry will sit in every meeting of the National Security Council with his eye trained on climate threats.(more…)
A Very Strong Signal: 5 Key Takeaways on John Kerry’s Climate Envoy Role and Seat on the National Security Council
On Monday, President-Elect Biden announced several members of his national security team. They included Anthony Blinken as Secretary of State, Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security, Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as United Nations Ambassador, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, and… former Secretary of State John Kerry as the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. While each of these announcements have positive implications for how climate change is addressed by the national security enterprise, let’s explore five key implications of this last announcement.(more…)