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RELEASE: International Military Council Issues Reports Urging Action to Drastically Reduce Emissions and Prepare for Escalating Climate Risks in Asia

Washington, D.C. Feb 3, 2021 — Today, the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) released two new reports, one on South Asia and the other on Southeast Asia, warning that climate change is threatening stability and security in the region, and calling for urgent action to both drastically reduce carbon emissions and prevent climate security risks

The IMCCS is a group of senior military leaders, security experts, and security institutions across the globe – currently hailing from 38 countries in every hemisphere – dedicated to anticipating, analyzing, and addressing the security risks of a changing climate. The IMCCS is administered by the Center for Climate and Security, an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks, with the participation of a consortium of international partners. The two new reports complement two previously released documents, The World Climate and Security Report 2020 and Climate and Security in the Indo-Asia Pacific, with an added emphasis on the energy-climate-security nexus. 

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Highlights from the U.S. Navy War College Conference on Climate Change and National Security

Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Arctic and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua A. Moore

By Elsa Barron

On January 9th, climate and security experts, many from the Center on Climate and Security (CCS), virtually convened for a US Naval War College conference, “The National Security Significance of a Changing Climate.” The conference organizer, Dr. Andrea Cameron, highlighted the timeliness of this conversation, as the United States enters an executive transition that will bring a heightened focus on climate change as a serious national security threat. However, even with that prioritization, comprehensively addressing the security implications of climate change will be a hefty task. Keynote speaker, Hon. Alice Hill, Member of the CCS Advisory Board, highlighted that the two largest challenges on this front are a lack of education about climate change and its politicization in the United States (see keynote here). By providing a space for a robust and nonpartisan discussion of climate change and its national security risks, the Naval War College hopes to help address those concerns.  

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For First Time, the Pentagon IG Annual Report Identifies Climate Change as Top Challenge

By Dr. Marc Kodack

In another sign that the Department of Defense (DoD) is prioritizing climate security risks, the annual Inspector General (IG) summary of the Department’s top management challenges explicitly discusses climate change and extreme weather events. This is the first time the report has featured climate change, incorporating it along with global pandemics in a section on strengthening resiliency to non-traditional threats. 

The report explores a number of ways climate change and extreme weather challenge the DoD. It includes the following examples of the costly impact of extreme weather events on installations:  $3.6 billion in hurricane damages to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in 2018 and the 2019 flooding that caused $1 billion in damages to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. The report also notes the risk of rising sea levels at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; noting they are expected to rise an additional 3.6 feet by 2050 causing significant campus flooding. 

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EVENT: US Navy War College: The National Security Significance of a Changing Climate, January 8

Rough seas pound the hull of Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Arctic as she sails alongside Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua A. Moore

On January 8, the US Naval War College will host a public conference, The National Security Significance of a Changing Climate: Risk and Resilience in the 21st Century. Center for Climate and Security (CCS)CCS Advisory Board member, the Hon. Alice Hill, will serve as the keynote speaker, and panels feature many members of the CCS staff and community, including CCS Advisory Board Members the Hon. Sherri Goodman, Dr. Marcus King, and Rear Adm. Ann Phillips (Ret). Also on tap to speak are CCS Director John Conger and CCS Senior Research Fellow Josh Busby.
We’re delighted to see such an event on the War College’s agenda–In our Climate Security Plan for America, we recommend expanded training programs across the US government to ensure federal employees understand how to characterize and respond to climate security risks. This type of conference is an excellent step toward fulfilling that recommendation. For more information, check out this video about the conference and please click here to register for what is sure to be a fascinating discussion.

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