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“How is Canada preparing to address the environmental impacts on security?” That was the question debated in a packed auditorium at the Canadian Forces College (CFC) on 12 February, 2020. The “Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear” Symposium hosted by the Canadian Forces College (Toronto, Canada) was organized by the College’s Department of Innovative Studies and aimed to sensitize participating students, both Canadian and international (to include audiences tuning in from the United Nations, and the Baltic Defence College) on the security implications of climate change. The expert opinions provided by both Canadian and American national security advisors and analysts, to include Center for Climate and Security Fellows Captain Steve Brock and Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barrett (both US Navy, retired), helped to frame, and imbue an enhanced understanding of, how Canada’s national and human security imperatives fit into the climate change discourse. (more…)
By Marc Kodack
The Naval Academy is at risk from sea level rise and more intense storms that may force it to relocate by 2100, according to the featured article in the current issue of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings journal. The Naval Academy has been in Annapolis, Maryland since 1845. It is surrounded by water on three sides which increases its vulnerability to flooding. Some structures are no more than three feet above the water level. In and around Annapolis sea levels have increased by almost a foot since the 1920s. The sea level is forecast to rise between “0.6 and 3.6 feet by 2050.” (more…)
Military and National Security Leaders Criticize Decision to Shut Down U.S. Navy Task Force Climate Change
According to E&E News, the United States Navy has ‘quietly stood down its Task Force Climate Change (TFCC), created in 2009 to plan and develop “future public, strategic, and policy discussions” on the issue.’ The decision is not getting good reviews from the Navy leader who started the task force, and the national security leader who valued its work. While the TFCC was never meant to exist forever (the nature of a task force is to perform a task and then disband), the Center for Climate and Security’s Rear Admiral Jonathan White, U.S. Navy (Ret), who led the TFCC from 2012 to 2015, highlights the fact that the goal of the task force was to fully incorporate climate change into the U.S. Navy’s decision-making processes, and that this simply hasn’t happened yet. From the article: (more…)
By John Conger
On April 30, the nominee for Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Bill Moran, and the nominee for Commandant of the Marine Corps, Lieutenant General David Berger, testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that climate change was a significant threat to Navy and Marine Corps installations. (Watch the full video here.)
ADM Moran observed that “We are largely a waterfront service, so climate change when there’s rising waters are going to be a problem for us if we don’t address them.” He also asserted the Navy is working plans to reinforce coastal areas. (more…)
Welcome back to The Climate and Security Podcast!
In this episode, Rear Admiral Jonathan White, US Navy (Retired), President and CEO of the Ocean Leadership Consortium and member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board, talks to host Dr. Sweta Chakraborty about his 32-year career in the U.S. Navy and his acute understanding and knowledge of the oceans. Since his retirement, Jon’s made it a point to apply his knowledge to inform short term and long term decisions to address how oceans warming impact the rest of the planet. His extensive knowledge on climate change impacts (e.g., sea level rise, coral bleaching, depleting and changing aquatic ecosystems) and manmade pollution (e.g., toxin and nutrient infusion into waters resulting in red tides) informs his work across all government and at all levels. This episode features all of this as well how the military has predictive and gaming capabilities that can ultimately help to mitigate threats and amplify necessary awareness and communications to the public. Don’t miss this one! (more…)
By John Conger
During a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 12, Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), affirmed the threat climate change poses to his Area of Responsibility, becoming the 21st senior military official to raise concerns about climate risks during the current Administration (see here for a list from November, and here for statements from Admiral Moran and General Neller in December).
During questioning, Admiral Davidson confirmed that he agreed with the intelligence community’s assessment of the climate change threat, as articulated in the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment published by the Director for National Intelligence (NOTE: climate change has been identified as a security threat in each of the last ten such assessments). (more…)