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Ocean Blues or a Bright Blue Future?

The national security cutter USCGC Bertholf the Arctic Ocean Sept. 14, 2012, during Arctic Shield 2012 (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Timothy Tamargo/Released)

By Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (ret.) and Annabelle Leahy

The pandemic of Covid-19 has tremendous and largely unknown implications for global health, security, and economic prosperity, but as we work diligently to steer the future toward positive outcomes, we must not lose track of the growing challenges and opportunities that continually unfold with another well-known but not well-understood global phenomenon — the ocean.

The ocean and its resources are inextricably tied to human health, the economy, and security. The link between the environment, particularly the ocean, and human health, is an area of increasing global importance as climate change increases the incidence of toxin release from harmful algal blooms, damage from catastrophic weather events, and potential for contagion from waterborne viruses and bacteria. These threats are not just related to health but also to security. Climate change is a core systemic risk to the 21st century world, and we must specifically address the ocean in this discussion. 

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The Center for Climate and Security Shares Insights at the Canadian Forces College

Canadas Top Climate Change Risks Cover Page“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…)

New Study: Naval Academy May Have to Move Due to Sea Level Rise

Hurrican Isabel storm damage and flooding at the U.S. Naval Academy.

A flooded U.S. Naval Academy facility due to Hurricane Isabel

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

Rear Admiral Jonathan White USN_Ret_Climate Security Podcast

Rear Admiral Jon White, USN (Ret), led the U.S. Navy Task Force Climate Change from 2012-2015

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…)

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