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Pandemic Highlights Serious Vulnerabilities to Transnational Security Threats In a Climate-Changed World
Recent events surrounding the global coronavirus pandemic have forced us to take a hard look at the vulnerability of our modern societies. Institutions and infrastructure, from public health facilities to first responders, are facing new strains from transnational threats that most are under-prepared to deal with. These possibilities were not unprecedented, and in fact the U.S. intelligence community has been warning about the risks of global pandemics for years, including in the last three Worldwide Threat Assessments. In this context, what more can be done to prepare our societies and governments against transnational threats to come, including climate change and its attendant security consequences?
On February 24, the ‘National Security, Military, and Intelligence Panel on Climate Change’ (NSMIP) of the Center for Climate and Security released a new report assessing the security implications of projected future human-induced global warming throughout the 21st Century. Titled “A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change: How Likely Warming Scenarios Indicate a Catastrophic Security Future,” the report uses two scenarios of future warming to analyze the resulting threats posed by climate change to every region of the world, as well as overall global security.
Released in a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, the report authors presented their overall findings that climate change could pose ‘High-to-Catastrophic threats to security’ at all levels, and even low warming scenarios harshly impact all regions of the world. The authors of the report also call for “net zero global emissions as soon as possible” in order to avoid that security future, as well as major investments in climate-proofing society for inevitable climatic changes. The briefing was held in partnership with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), and the video can be watched in full here and below.
RELEASE: Future Climate Change Presents High-to-Catastrophic Security Threat, Warn U.S. National Security, Military and Intelligence Experts in New Assessment
Washington, DC, February 24, 2020 — In a comprehensive report released today by the “National Security, Military and Intelligence Panel (NSMIP)” of the Center for Climate and Security, experts warn of High-to-Catastrophic threats to security from plausible climate change trajectories – the avoidance of which will require “quickly reducing and phasing out global greenhouse gas emissions.” The panel, made up of national security, military and intelligence experts, analyzed the globe through the lens of the U.S. Geographic Combatant Commands, and concluded that “Even at scenarios of low warming, each region of the world will face severe risks to national and global security in the next three decades. Higher levels of warming will pose catastrophic, and likely irreversible, global security risks over the course of the 21st century.”
The report will be officially launched this afternoon at 3:30pm EST in a briefing at the Rayburn House Office Building (Gold Room 2168) featuring distinguished members of the expert panel. The briefing will also be webcast live, and is hosted by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR), in partnership with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation (HMJ) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI). (more…)
Washington, DC, March 5, 2019 — In an extraordinary letter published today by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and the American Security Project (ASP), a group of 58 senior retired military and national security leaders denounced the National Security Council (NSC) plan to set up an “adversarial” group to undermine the science that informs defense and intelligence threat assessments on climate change. The plan is being driven by vocal climate denier William Happer, who has expertise in neither climate science nor national security. The letter includes former secretaries of defense and state (Hagel and Kerry) former combatant commanders (such as Admiral Locklear and General McChrystal), former intelligence leaders (such as Greg Treverton, past Chair of the National Intelligence Council) and other senior military and national security officials that served in Republican and Democratic administrations stretching back to President Eisenhower. The letter represents an extraordinary rebuke from a very practical community that is normally focused on addressing external threats, not internal politics. This demonstrates how far outside the national security consensus the NSC proposal is. The letter states: (more…)
On December 30, NBC’s Meet the Press, hosted by Chuck Todd, devoted its entire Sunday program to the climate crisis. While the full segment is worth a watch, an exchange on the national security and defense implications of climate change with Michèle Flournoy, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (the 7th-ranking Pentagon official), and Craig Fugate, former Director of FEMA, proved especially interesting. Their responses are consistent with the views of military leaders across both Republican and Democratic Administrations, as well as those of the Center for Climate and Security, including its Climate Security Consensus Project. Below are excerpts from the exchange. (more…)
The second annual Climate and National Security Forum, titled “A Responsibility to Prepare,” was held on February 26, 2018 on Capitol Hill, Washington DC amid rising concerns across the United States and internationally regarding the security implications of a rapidly-changing climate. The event featured two report releases from the Center for Climate and Security, and a number of senior military and national security leaders highlighting risks and recommendations for the Administration and Congress to consider. Below is a video of the event, links to quotes from report authors/ speakers, a summary of the event from our colleagues at EESI, and the released reports.
The 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…)