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Climate Change in U.S. National Security Strategies under Obama, Trump and Biden

By Dr. Marc Kodack

As the Biden administration’s national security team ramps up efforts to incorporate climate change and its effects into their agencies and policies, work will begin on crafting a new National Security Strategy (NSS). To guide national security decision-making while the full strategy is drafted, President Biden has released interim national security strategic guidance (here). With the availability of this guidance we can compare and contrast how President Biden plans to address climate change and national security with how these issues were tackled in Obama and Trump National Security Strategies published in 2015 and 2017, respectively. In short, the Obama and Biden strategic guidance is strong on climate security (with Biden’s being especially robust), while the Trump NSS was almost entirely silent on the subject. Below is a detailed review.

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A Bipartisan Letter from Congress on Climate Change and National Security

U.s._capitolLed by Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), a bipartisan group of 106 lawmakers released an extraordinary letter last week urging the President of the United States to reconsider omission of climate change as a security threat in its National Security Strategy, citing the words of sitting Secretary of Defense James Mattis to underline the issue’s importance. (more…)

Reaction: The New National Security Strategy and Climate Change

SouthPorticoThe Administration today released its first National Security Strategy. Click here for the official summary, and here for the full text. Notably, climate change is not listed as a national security risk in the document, though there are a few elements that relate to the subject. Below is the Center for Climate and Security’s out-of-the-gate reaction: (more…)

Climate Change in the UK National Security Strategy & Strategic Defence & Security Review 2015

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UK Parliament (Photo by Mdbeckwith)

The United Kingdom recently released its latest National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015. The strategic document essentially lays out the fundamentals of the UK’s approach to national security, and climate change features prominently (all explicit mentions of climate change are quoted below). Broadly speaking, climate change is listed as a contributor to instability, an opportunity for engagement with other nations, including the United States, and as a factor affecting UK global influence. (more…)

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