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Event: U.S. Climate Security Investments: Changing Plans into Actions

By Brigitte Hugh

Join the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) on June 14, 2022 at 2 p.m. EST for a panel discussion featuring senior U.S. government officials to discuss the climate funding included in the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Budget Request (register here).

Participants include:

  • Joe Bryan, Senior Advisor for Climate, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense
  • Teresa Pohlman, Executive Director of Environmental and Sustainability Programs, Department of Homeland Security 
  • Gillian Caldwell, Chief Climate Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Jesse Young, Senior Advisor, Office of the Senior Presidential Envoy for Climate, U.S. State Department

Earlier this year, the Climate and Security Advisory Group published the report, Challenge Accepted, which lauded the fact that the Administration had declared climate change to be an essential element of national security and foreign policy, but called upon the U.S. government to move from words to deeds.

A key ingredient in accomplishing the aims of established U.S. climate security strategy is the financial resources necessary to fuel the transformation from plans to action. The President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request, submitted to Congress in March, proposes an unprecedented amount of funding dedicated to addressing climate security issues. Which provokes questions like: Is it enough? Is it in the right places? And what forward progress will it actually enable? 

Register to attend here.

BRIEFER – Taking Stock: Integrating Climate Change into U.S. National Security Practices in 2022

By Erin Sikorsky and Brigitte Hugh

In late 2021, the Biden Administration released a suite of national security and foreign policy documents[1] that according to the administration, would “serve as a foundation for [its] critical work on climate and security moving forward.”[2] This briefer synthesizes four key takeaways of these reports: 1) Climate change is forcing the U.S. national security community to reexamine its assumptions about how the world works; 2) Climate security is a current problem and a future problem; 3) Climate security risks are wide-ranging and not confined to particular geographies or sectors; 4) Climate security cannot be separated from other major security concerns—in fact, it shapes and exacerbates those concerns.

If 2021 was about analyzing the problem and making the case that climate change is a national security concern, then 2022 should be about making concrete changes to how US agencies do business so they are equipped to address climate security challenges going forward. To that end, we recommend that the U.S. government pursue five priorities: 1) Mainstream climate security in regional strategies; 2) Link climate adaptation programs with conflict prevention; 3) Maximize whole-of-government approaches to linking climate science and national security; 4) Increase climate security support for allies and partners; 5) Leverage strategic foresight tools to prepare for climate security risks – including worst case scenarios.

Read the full briefer here.


[1] These documents included: (1) National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Climate Change from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI); (2) Department of Defense (DoD) Climate Risk Analysis (DCRA); (3) Strategic Framework to Address Climate Change for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ; (4) Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration, the first such report released by the United States Government; (5) The Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Plan.

[2] “Fact Sheet: Prioritizing Climate in Foreign Policy and National Security,” The White House, October 21, 2021.

Balancing on a Knife’s Edge: Climate Security Implications of the IPCC Findings

A wildfire at Florida Panther NWR. Photo by Josh O'Connor - USFWS.
A wildfire at Florida Panther NWR. Photo by Josh O’Connor – USFWS.

By Akash Ramnath and Kate Guy

New scientific consensus released today details the potential future course of climate change, with serious repercussions for international security and stability. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first product of its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), summarizing the latest scientific understanding on the state of global climate change. This report, completed by the IPCC Working Group I (WGI), offers the best collective picture of how human caused climate change is impacting the physical systems of the planet now and in the future. 

The report makes clear that our planet’s climatic systems are changing rapidly in response to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. By 2100, global average temperatures are expected to rise between 2.1-3.5°C in an intermediate scenario, or 3.3-5.7°C in a high emissions scenario, if humans do not curb and continue expanding greenhouse gas emitting activities. The path to keeping global temperatures to just 1.5°C of warming, the report states, looks increasingly narrow; while every additional fraction of a degree in planetary warming will have worsening impacts on climate stability.

The findings of the WGI report have two important implications for security audiences: First, cutting emissions and adapting to climate impacts are equally important for security in the coming years; second, that the increasing risk of crossing climate tipping points suggests security services must prepare for managing multiple climate-induced crises at once. 

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New Online Course on Climate Change & National Security

The Center for Climate and Security is pleased to partner with The Conservation Coalition‘s Market Environmentalism Academy on the launch of a new online course on climate change and national security, featuring a video (below) with our advisory board member, General Ronald Keys, US Air Force (Ret). 

The short 14 lesson course provides an overview of the climate change-national security nexus, and has modules on clean energy competition as well as extreme weather impacts. 

You can sign up for the course and watch the entire video with Gen. Keys here.

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