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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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Council on Strategic Risks Launches New Arctic Security Report, in Partnership with Woodwell Climate Research Center

June 21 2021 —  The Council on Strategic Risks’ Converging Risks Lab and the Woodwell Climate Research Center release a new report today, Temperatures and Tensions Rise: Security and Climate Risks in the Arctic. The publication includes groundbreaking new analysis on the implications of thawing permafrost across the Arctic region for security infrastructure, as well as modeling of the potential security implications of rapid changes in ice loss, temperature change, and growing regional activity. 

An interactive story map analysis of this research was launched in May 2021 in support of the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. Together, the story map analysis and detailed report provide important new tools for security actors increasingly asked to interact in a rapidly changing Northern climate.

While previous research has examined rising tensions and future security scenarios in the Arctic, few publications have worked directly with climate scientists to model how changing climate realities in the fastest warming region on Earth could interact with these human activities. With each passing year, military and private activity in the region grows rapidly, and these forces will be forced to interact with growing extreme weather, ice variability, and permafrost thaw in the North due to warming temperatures.

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A Growing Crisis: The Launch of the World Climate and Security Report 2021

7 June 2021 | 10:00 – 11:30 AM EST / 4:00 – 5:30 PM CET

RSVP here: http://bit.ly/WCSR2021

Join the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) for the launch of the 2021 edition of the World Climate and Security Report. Featuring remarks by:

  • David van Weel, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges
  • Lt. Gen. Richard Nugee, Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy Lead for the UK Ministry of Defence
  • Sherri Goodman, Secretary General, IMCCS
  • Gen. Tom Middendorp (Ret.), Chair, IMCCS

UPDATE (8 June 2021). See a recording of the launch event below.

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RELEASE: New Report by Security Experts Warns of “Great Power Conflict” Potential in Arctic if Climate Change Uncurbed

Washington DC, January 27, 2021 — Today’s forthcoming climate announcements by the Biden Administration speak to the urgency of addressing climate change threats to security. These realities are nowhere more visible than in the Arctic, where the onset of climate change presents dangerous new realities for great power competition and conflict. 

new reportClimate Change and Security in the Arctic, released today by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), an Institute of the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR), together with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), assesses the growing security risks posed by a warming climate in one of the most rapidly changing regions on Earth. The report concludes that the risks posed by uncurbed warming include the potential for new conflicts, the breakdown of multilateral cooperation, and rising great power tensions. The analysis looks at two future warming scenarios (curbed and uncurbed) to project security threats alongside potential environmental changes deemed likely in the High North by 2030.

The analysis identifies a number of key Arctic climate security risks across both warming scenarios, but notes that the risks are more severe and more likely in an “uncurbed” warming scenario. In a “curbed” scenario in which the world takes rapid action to curb climate change, including by transforming energy use, decarbonizing the global economy, and building international institutions to manage climate risks, the Arctic is likely to see fewer opportunities for severe security risks. The report recommends integrating this climate risk analysis into Arctic planning strategies into the coming years, and avoiding the uncurbed warming scenario.

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