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The South China Sea: A Potential Climate, Nuclear, Security Hotspot

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The USS John S. McCain conducts a routine patrol in the South China Sea, Jan. 22, 2017.

Earlier this year, The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) convened its multidisciplinary Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs to further investigate the intersections of these trends.  In the forthcoming weeks, CSR will publish a series of posts expanding on workshop discussions.  

The South China Sea: A Potential Climate, Nuclear, Security Hotspot
By Andrea Rezzonico

The Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs, a project of CSR’s Converging Risks Lab, examines the nexus of existential threats stemming from climate change and nuclear risks—overlaid on the stress of ongoing security challenges such as terrorism and state fragility.

The South China Sea region faces a range of disruptive climate and security challenges, as several countries explore nuclear energy. The region is also influenced in various ways by most nuclear weapons-possessing countries, including the United States, China, India, Pakistan, and Russia. Ongoing territorial disputes, incidents of maritime confrontation and other current events underscore the area’s tenuous state of affairs. The Working Group accordingly considers this region a priority for investigation.

For the rest of the article, visit the Council on Strategic Risks’ website here.

The International Military Council on Climate and Security on NBC

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Solar panels are tested during a NATO exercise in Hungary. NATO

In an article published on Saturday, NBC News‘ Linda Givetash covered the growing trend of militaries taking concrete steps to address the threat of climate change, including efforts by NATO militaries to enhance energy efficiency in the context of the NATO mission. As Givetash notes, “military officials from 29 countries — including the United States — will test whether energy efficient equipment and hybrid diesel-solar power systems can be easily integrated into their operations in Poland this June.”

For the piece, Givetash highlighted the “newly established International Military Council on Climate and Security“, noting that the IMCCS “aims to bring the impact of climate change on natural disasters and conflicts to the forefront of military strategy.” Givetash spoke with both IMCCS Secretary General Sherri Goodman, and IMCCS Chair General Tom Middendorp. From the article: (more…)

International Military Council on Climate and Security Launches New Website

IMCCS_LogoOn February 19, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and its partners the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) and the Planetary Security Initiative of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael), announced the creation of the International Military Council on Climate and Security, or IMCCS. Now, the IMCCS has a website!

Please head over to imccs.org to learn more about this group of senior military leaders, security experts, and security institutions across the globe dedicated to anticipating, analyzing, and addressing the security risks of a changing climate.

The Climate and Security Podcast: Episode 12 with General Middendorp

General Middendorp_2019_02Welcome back to The Climate and Security Podcast!

In this episode host Dr. Sweta Chakraborty talks to General Tom Middendorp, Chair of the International Military Council on Climate and Security and former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands. General Middendorp talks about being a commander in South Afghanistan, and how even after driving out the Taliban in one case, conflict persisted due to disputes over the division of water. He describes firsthand experiences from across twenty missions on how climate change and human impacts can amplify war and negate best efforts at peacekeeping. He discusses the importance of cooperation across aid workers, diplomats, policymakers, military coalitions and other stakeholders to pursue stability at a global scale. Tom emphasizes the role defence communities can play in terms of offering opportunities to visionaries to develop ideas such as an innovation that extracts water out of dry, desert air.  Hear this unique perspective – from the former highest-ranking military officer in the Dutch Armed forces – on overcoming the challenges at the nexus of climate and security!

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Sherri Goodman and Vice Admiral McGinn Testify Before House Foreign Affairs Committee

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By John Conger

The Honorable Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist with the Center for Climate and Security and former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security), and Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, US Navy (Retired), Member of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board and former Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations, Energy and Environment, testified Tuesday morning (April 2, 2019) before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on “How Climate Change Threatens U.S. National Security.”  They were joined by Mr. Paul Weisenfeld, Executive Vice President for International Development of RTI International and Mr. Barry Worthington, Executive Director of the United States Energy Association. There was general bipartisan agreement on the security risks of climate change, and more to debate on the solutions. (more…)

Climate Security Consensus Breaks into the Open

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The Center for Climate and Security’s Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (Ret) testifies before the House Armed Services Committee – March 13, 2019

By John Conger

The House Armed Services Committee bore public witness to the growing consensus between Democrats and Republicans on supporting the military’s response to climate change, during a Readiness Subcommittee hearing titled “Ensuring Resiliency of Military Installations and Operations in Response to Climate Changes.”

Chairman Garamendi’s opening statement outlined a series of concerns:

Just this last year Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused billions of dollars in damage to Camp Lejeune and leveled much of Tyndall Air Force Base.  California wildfires led to the evacuation of family housing at Camp Pendleton, Naval Air Station Point Mugu, and the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center. In addition, our coastal installations and their surrounding communities are already experiencing significant flooding due to sea-level rise. The Army’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site at the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific is threatened by sea level rise and may not last 20 years. The Navy’s principal Atlantic Base Norfolk/Hampton Rhodes and the Naval Academy are already experiencing flooding. Melting polar ice in Arctic regions has already opened new sea routes and competition for resources, yet it appears that DOD has not developed a systematic strategy for ensuring U.S. national interests in the Arctic.

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General Scaparotti and General Lyons Agree with Intelligence Assessments on Climate Change Threat

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General Scaparrotti and General Lyons testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 5, 2019

In a hearing yesterday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Commander of United States European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and Army General Stephen R. Lyons, Commander of United States Transportation Command, both agreed with the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that climate change is a security threat. This is despite a current National Security Council attempt to impose a political test on that national security analysis, which was denounced yesterday by a group of 58 senior military, national security and intelligence leaders with experience across Republican and Democratic Administrations.

See a transcript of the exchange below (video here): (more…)