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Converging Climate Risks: Government, Military, and Business at NATO 2030

Afghan Air Force and NATO mentors battle floods. July 29, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Jimmie Barrow/RELEASED)

By Elsa Barron and Lily Feldman

There are few challenges more “transatlantic” in nature than the climate crisis. No single nation can fix the issue at hand, yet through strong partnerships, hopefully the worst effects of climate change can be managed to help avert catastrophe. At the NATO 2030 Brussels Forum, taking place on the opening day of the NATO Summit, partnerships around climate security were a leading topic of discussion. The panel, “Operating in Times of Climate Change,” featured experts Congressman Ted Deutch (D-CA), Marsden Hanna, Head of Sustainability and Climate Policy at Google, and Sherri Goodman, Chair of the Board of the Council on Strategic Risks and Senior Strategist at the Center for Climate and Security. The panel, moderated by Janini Vivekanada of Adelphi, addressed major climate risks and opportunities at the intersection of government, security, and business interests, exploring opportunities to expand collaboration around and commitments towards climate action.

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New Climate Security Report has Implications for NATO and COP26

By Danice Ball and Lily Feldman

Earlier this month, the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) released the World Climate and Security Report (WCSR) 2021, the second in an ongoing series of annual reports. The report dives into climate security risk assessments for a few hotspot regions, including Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, and also provides concrete tools to help policymakers address the growing unprecedented threats. A unique inclusion in this year’s report is a new Climate Security Risk Matrix and Methodology, which allows for evaluation of comparative climate risk among countries. In addition, the report features a Climate Security Risk Perception Survey, aggregating forecasts of climate risks from leading climate security experts in the world. These experts find climate security to be among the most pressing issues the world faces now, and a priority for future planning efforts. Between the Risk Matrix, the Survey, climate security case studies, and policy recommendations, the IMCCS Expert Group believes that policymakers will find the information needed to inform next steps in both preparing for and preventing climate security risks.

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Security Highlights from the Leaders Summit on Climate

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U.S. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. kicks off the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 2021. 

By Erin Sikorsky

Last week’s Leaders Summit on Climate made history for many reasons — because of the number of new commitments on cutting emissions, its virtual nature, the focus on environmental justice, and that climate security was included at a level never before seen on the global stage. The big news out of the summit was President Biden’s announcement of a new target for the United States to achieve a 50 to 52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution in 2030. This step is in line with our call in the 2019 A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change for “the world to achieve net-zero emissions as soon as possible in a manner that is ambitious, safe, equitable, and well governed, in order to avoid severe and catastrophic security futures.”

More specific to climate security risks already underway, US Secretary of Defense Austin led a session focused on identifying climate security risks and reiterating existing promises for combating them. While this administration has done more than any other towards elevating climate security as a foreign policy priority, it’s now time to move from talk to action–toward realigning priorities, strategies and missions to meet the climate security threat. The discussion led by Secretary Austin revealed multiple pathways to do so — and an international community that welcomes US leadership on the topic. Three of the key takeaways on which to build are as follows:

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A Climate Security Plan for NATO: Collective Defense for the 21st Century

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This is an excerpt from an article published in Environmental Affairs, a journal from Policy Exchange

By Erin Sikorsky and Sherri Goodman

Since its founding in 1949, the core organising principle of NATO has remained the same: collective defense. An attack against one is an attack against all. Article 5, which articulates this principle, has famously only been invoked once, in the wake of 9/11. Today, however, some of the biggest security risks facing the Alliance do not come from states or organizations alone, but instead from transnational, actorless threats like climate change and pandemics. What does collective defense mean in the face of increased extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and surging sea levels? More importantly, how do these climate change effects exacerbate or contribute to other security risks facing NATO, whether the rise of geopolitics in the Arctic, political instability in the Middle East and North Africa, or the increasing need for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief within Alliance members themselves?

Read the full article here at Policy Exchange

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