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Newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry has a long and distinguished history of working at the intersection of national security and climate change. As such, the overlap in these areas of expertise will likely be a particularly important part of his tenure. (For a good overview of why Kerry should address the security risks of climate change see this recent article by Coral Davenport). (more…)
A recent article in the New Yorker highlights President Obama’s suggestion that were he to be re-elected, action on climate change and nuclear proliferation would top his foreign affairs agenda. As we have argued previously, these two issues should both be analyzed under the same risk analysis lens. In other words, what kind of security risk do we face from climate change, and what kind of security risk do we face from nuclear proliferation? The answers to these questions need to underpin the level of attention and resources the U.S. expends in order to mitigate these risks. And indeed, according to certain assessments, climate change is an overwhelmingly high probability and high impact risk, while the possibility of a nuclear detonation is a relatively lower probability, yet very high impact risk. In both cases, the security risks are unacceptable, and must be addressed with a scale of resources undiluted by partisan politics.