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Briefer: Latin America, Climate Change, Security and the Role of Regional Militaries

Oliver speaking 2

The Center for Climate and Security’s Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barret, U.S. Navy (Ret) delivers the keynote address at the CDEMA conference (Dec 13, 2018): “Climate and Security in the Caribbean Region: A Roadmap to Resilience.”

By Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barrett, U.S. Navy (Retired)

The Center for Climate and Security published several analyses this year explaining how climate dynamics have contributed to migration crises emanating from the Northern Triangle (i.e. Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) and Venezuela. See here and here. These crises continue to affect neighboring states, especially states that vulnerable populations perceive as offering greener pastures. Though the ways in which environmental trends affect at-risk populations is well known, how these trends affect national stability and security is largely underappreciated and under-discussed. More specifically, how climate-related trends might disrupt military capabilities and facilities, including military training ranges and bases, within contexts increasingly defined by the fallout of climate related/driven crises, has yet to fully permeate military thought and strategic planning. This article briefly explores the climate – security linkages within the Latin American context, and discusses what regional militaries need to do to stay ahead of strategic risks that put their effectiveness at risk.

To read the full briefer, click here.

Towards A More Climate Secure US-Latin American Policy

Panama Canal, Taken July 3, 2003, By Thomas Lamadrid

Panama Canal, 2003, By Thomas Lamadrid

President Obama recently returned from a visit to Latin America and the Caribbean. There was no shortage of agenda items: opening up ties with Cuba, trade agreements, and human rights issues. Climate change and energy security were also prevalent topics of discussion throughout the visit. In many ways, climate and energy issues provide an important avenue for furthering cooperation between the U.S. and the region, including as it relates to security priorities. (more…)

Top Climate Security Implications for Latin America: A Regional Breakdown

Severe flooding is one of many devastating effects of climate change, as the Caribbean island nation Dominica experienced in 2011. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

Severe flooding is one of many devastating effects of
climate change, as the Caribbean island nation Dominica experienced in
2011. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

By Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barrett, U.S. Navy (ret) Senior Research Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security

From December 1-12, world leaders are meeting in Lima, Peru to lay the groundwork for a global agreement on climate change. But aside from being a setting for this round of international climate talks, the Latin American region is facing significant security and development threats from climate change that are not often reported.

Climate change is a stressor that will compound, and already is compounding, vexing preexisting developmental challenges across the regions’ states – testing governments to the limits of their capacities and affecting populations in diverse ways. While this “stressor” is becoming better appreciated by development stakeholders, a dimension that is not as well-appreciated is the impact climatic and environmental shifts will have on states’ security in general, and on the operations of regional militaries more specifically. Below is a sub-regional breakdown – a sort of “get to the point” compilation – of the implications of climate change on this growing, dynamic and increasingly relevant region of the globe. The compilation draws from and builds on a joint military assessment I contributed to as a consultant for U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). The geographic categories below reflect a structure commonly used in the U.S defense sector. (more…)

The Center for Climate and Security Welcomes New Fellows

C&S LOGOThe Center for Climate and Security welcomes three new fellows to its policy and research programs: Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barrett, U.S. Navy (Retired), Anthony Burn and Sarah Volkman. Together, they bring significant expertise and experience on a wide range of issues, including the nexus of climate change and civilian-military dynamics in Latin America, satellite technologies and sustainability management. They join our other fellows to create an excellent team of area and thematic specialists. See their bios below!

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