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On Friday, the New Security Beat posted a great blog and podcast featuring comments by Alice Hill, the senior director for resilience policy at the U.S. National Security Council (NSC), which were delivered at the launch event of the G7-commissioned report “A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks.” Alice Hill details the process by which the U.S. government, including the Department of Homeland Security, has integrated climate change risks into its plans and programs. She identifies key developments in policy, but also critical gaps in implementation – including gaps in expertise on how to limit the fragility risks of climate change in unstable nations.
A blog on the subject, as well as the full podcast, can be found here.
Old Dominion University (ODU) recently hosted a Preparedness and Resilience Exercise for Hampton Roads. The event was led by the National Security Council with support from the FEMA National Exercise Division, and used a scenario exercise tailored to the region and designed to reinforce “work already underway locally on sea level rise, extreme storm surge and recurrent flooding.” The exercise included participation from local, state and federal government, private businesses, academic and community partners.
On a related note, Captain Ray Toll, USN (Ret) and CCS Advisory Board member, Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (Ret), wrote an Op-ed in the Virginian Pilot titled “The threat in Hampton Roads.” The Op-ed includes points brought up during the Dec. 2 exercise at ODU. (more…)
Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor to President Obama, spoke at length on the security implications of energy and climate change at the launch of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. Donilon acknowledged that speaking at energy conferences was somewhat unusual for National Security Advisors, but given the very real intersection between energy, climate change and national security, the appearance was certainly appropriate. (more…)
The Atlantic ran a piece by Neil Bhatiya of the Century Foundation on Friday, which focuses on “why the extreme risk and uncertainty of rapid climate change requires a new national-security framework.” The most interesting recommendation from Bhatiya centers on the role of the National Security Council in addressing climate risk:
The best first step the president can take is to create a new structure within the foreign policy bureaucracy, answerable to his National Security Council, which will prioritize contingency planning and make recommendations across multiple departments and agencies so that U.S. foreign policy can seriously address a whole series of coming climate catastrophes.
Meanwhile, the Bipartisan Policy Center previewed one of its own recommendations (the full recommendations will not be publicly released until after the inauguration), centered on energy security. Former Senator Bryan Dorgan (D-ND), and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), called for the:
…formation of a National Energy Strategy Council in the White House…Chaired by the Secretary of Energy, the council would bring together the heads of at least 15 agencies with substantive energy responsibilities to hash out policy.
Both of these recommendations are worth considering. Also worth considering would be for the White House to develop a broader leadership framework for addressing both climate and energy security, given the inherent connections between the two. This could include, for example, the creation of a Deputy National Security Advisor that handles the environment, energy and climate change.