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Typhoon Haigibis: Lives Lost and Security Infrastructure Damaged

Hagibis_2019_both_landfallsBy Marc Kodack

Typhoon Hagibis came ashore in eastern Japan this past weekend resulting in multiple deaths while damaging or and destroying buildings and other infrastructure. It is the most powerful storm to hit Japan since 1958U.S. military installations reported no deaths, but U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi, approximately 21 miles south of downtown Tokyo, incurred “structural or water damage to more than 20 structures.” Cleanup efforts continue across Japan. (more…)

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).

FAQ: The Pentagon Leads on Recognizing Climate Change Risks: But What About its Emissions?

The_PentagonBy John Conger and Marc Kodack

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has been widely recognized for its consistent recognition of the threat of climate change, as well as its continued efforts to maintain climate resilience efforts even as much of the rest of the Administration reflects a more climate skeptic position.  At the same time, some have pointed out that DoD is a major source of the emissions that drive the very change they’re concerned about.  So what’s the deal? Let’s dive into it a bit. (more…)

Australia’s Defence Chief: Climate Change a National Security Threat

General Angus CampbellBy Marc Kodack

A recent article published in The Telegraph summarizes the text of a prepared speech by Australia’s Defence Force Chief, General Angus Campbell, which was described as “signed off by all of Defence, including the Chief of the Defence Force, as their official views… on climate change as a national security threat.” The speech was given at an invitation-only event in Australia; thus, it is unclear if the text was presented only as written. In the speech, a reference is made to Australia sending more military personnel to assist with climate-related disasters, both domestic and international, than it had at any one time in Afghanistan to conduct military operations. The speech states that Australia is in “the most natural disaster-prone region in the world” and that “climate change is predicted to make disasters more extreme and more common.” It also warns that the Federal Government’s actions on climate change could “affect relationships with Pacific island nations, who have repeatedly called on Australia to do more to reduce carbon emissions.” In that context, it warns of China filling the gap in leadership left by Australian policy, stating: (more…)

Climate and National Security on MSNBC with CCS Director John Conger

Conger on MSNBC_2019_9_16

Center for Climate and Security Director John Conger on MSNBC, September 16, 2019

The Hon. John Conger, Director of the Center for Climate and Security and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, appeared on MSNBC‘s Velshi and Ruhle show today, to discuss climate change impacts on the U.S. military, the geostrategic landscape (especially in terms of China and Russia’s activities in the Arctic), and migration and political instability. The interview was part of MSNBC’s week of climate change coverage, with Monday focusing on climate change and national security.

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General Carleton-Smith: British Army Should Develop Non-Fossil Fuel Dependent Vehicles

Tactical Air Refueller

An Oshkosh Tactical Air Refueller Wheeled Tanker at Salisbury Plain by 4 Regiment Army Air Corps (AAC)

By Marc Kodack

In an article published today, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, Chief of the British General Staff, said the current generation of tactical vehicles may be the last to be powered by fossil fuels. Benefits to ending this dependence on fossil fuels would be logistical, e.g. reduce the logical tail risk, and put the British Army on “the right side of the environmental argument,” he noted. He called on British industry to develop the next generation of vehicles that are simultaneously “battle winning but also environmentally sustainable.” Doing so would also assist in influencing the career decisions of future recruits who may consider “prospective employer’s environmental credentials.”

What Recent Homeland Security Analysis Says About Climate Risks to Military Communities

DHS Community Resilience Analysis_2018_12By Marc Kodack

As we begin to assess the full extent of the damage and lives lost caused by Hurricane Dorian, it is worth looking at recent assessments of community resilience commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security to help shape how we better prepare in the future. This includes making sure that the military communities that keep our bases operating are resilient to climate and non-climate related disasters. Military installations located across the U.S. have recently been affected by significant climate-influenced disaster events (and non-climate disasters) that presented serious risks to military communities, and have cost billions of dollars in facility and infrastructure repairs, and. These events include earthquakes in July 2019 at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, that resulted in the installation being in a “mission unsustainable” state for multiple days sustaining an estimated $2.5 to $5 billion in damages; severe flooding on the Missouri River resulting from record melting snow upriver exacerbated by a bomb cyclone in March 2019 which effected a third of Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, with an estimated $650 million for “operations, maintenance, construction, and simulator costs;” and Hurricane Michael in October 2018 which struck Florida and Tyndall Air Force Base damaging every building on the installation resulting in $4.7 billion in damages (see also John Conger’s article on his eye-opening visit to Tyndall about 6 months after the hurricane hit). (more…)