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Let’s Not Get Caught Flat-Footed on the Next Crisis: Coronavirus, Climate Change, and American Security

Illinois_National_Guard_assemble medical equipment for COVID response

Illinois Air National Guard assemble medical equipment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, April 8, 2020 (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Jay Grabiec)

By Christine Parthemore and Hon. Sherri Goodman

The devastating COVID-19 crisis is driving a national conversation on how we define our security. While this debate is overdue, calls for the nation to reallocate resources from national defense, to threats like the novel coronavirus, are overly simplistic. In the face of complex transnational risks like pandemics and climate change, it is important to consider broadening the government toolkit, not narrowing it.

Indeed, the emerging discourse on the definition of American security should reflect the critical roles our defense agencies play in addressing threats like pandemics and climate change, in concert with their interagency partners. This begins by recognizing how such issues affect even our traditional notions of national security. (more…)

The Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent: The Urgent Need For a Climate-Security Governance Architecture

Rachel_FleishmanThis article was first published on AsiaGlobal Online (April 29, 2020)

By Rachel Fleishman

Today’s international security and governance architecture was born of the post-World War II period, when a conflict-weary world sought to prevent another clash of nation-state alliances drawn into battle by the expansionist actions of a few. Yet many modern security challenges do not fit neatly into postwar constructs, argues Rachel Fleishman of the Center for Climate and Security. Pandemics, mass migration and environmental degradation – and, most prominently, climate change – defy national borders and the world must prepare for concerted, coordinated action to prevent predictable cross-border threats.
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Coronavirus Shows We Are Not At All Prepared For the Security Threat of Climate Change

KateGuy

Author: Kate Guy is a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Climate and Security

This is a cross-post of an article first published on The Conversation.

How might a single threat, even one deemed unlikely, spiral into an evolving global crisis which challenges the foundations of global security, economic stability and democratic governance, all in the matter of a few weeks?

My research on threats to national security, governance and geopolitics has focused on exactly this question, albeit with a focus on the disruptive potential of climate change, rather than a novel coronavirus. In recent work alongside intelligence and defence experts at the think-tank Center for Climate and Security, I analysed how future warming scenarios could disrupt security and governance worldwide throughout the 21st century. Our culminating report, A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change, was launched in Washington just as the first coronavirus cases were spreading undetected across the US. (more…)

The Geopolitics of COVID-19 and Climate Change

COVID-19By Shiloh Fetzek

The Stockholm Environment Institute and Mistra Geopolitics hosted a webinar on the Geopolitics of COVID-19 and Climate Change on 3 April. It covered how the ongoing crisis might impact climate ambition in the near term, whether or not global cooperation around the Covid response might increase resilience and counteract trends toward nationalism and isolationism, and how best to integrate climate and sustainability objectives into pandemic recovery efforts. (more…)