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Heeding the Intelligence Warnings of the Next Crisis

3By John Conger and Kate Guy

In the January 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, the Director of National Intelligence offered this clear prediction: “We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or largescale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability…”

It is hard to come up with a better description of the current crisis.

A few pages later, the report predicts that “global environmental and ecological degradation, as well as climate change, are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond. Climate hazards such as extreme weather, higher temperatures, droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, sea level rise, soil degradation, and acidifying oceans are intensifying, threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security.” (more…)

Climate Change More Prominent Than Ever at Munich Security Conference with “World Climate Security Report 2020” Release

Feb 15_MSC_Clim Sec

Munich Security Conference Main Stage Event on Climate and Security, Feb 15, 2020. From Left: Jennifer Morgan (GPI), Kent Walker (Google), Patricia Espinosa Cantellano (UNFCCC), Lindsey Graham (U.S. Senator), General (Ret) Tom Middendorp (International Military Council on Climate and Security), Sheldon Whitehouse (U.S. Senator), Melinda Crane-Röhrs (Deutsche Welle).

Climate change has never been very prominent at the Munich Security Conference (MSC), a leading forum for senior military, security and foreign policy leaders. That changed this year, with the release of the “World Climate and Security Report 2020” by the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) – an international network administered by the Center for Climate and Security, in partnership with a consortium of organizations. The report featured prominently on the MSC stage – at the opening “Hashtag Event” on February 13 and in a later event on the Main Stage on February 15 – which even featured strong U.S. bipartisan support for comprehensive policies combating climate change. These events included powerful contributions from General Tom Middendorp, Chair of the IMCCS, and former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands. These were reinforced by other IMCCS voices during the World Climate and Security Report 2020 side event on February 15, in the media, and by senior defense leaders and IMCCS staff in Luxembourg. Below is a description of the key climate security events during this extraordinary three days – three days of climate change being elevated, as it should be, to some of the highest levels of the international security discourse. The next step will be translating this discourse into actions that are commensurate to the threat. (more…)

RELEASE: International Military Council Issues “World Climate and Security Report 2020” at Munich Security Conference

World Climate and Security Report 2020 - Cover Image

Munich, Germany, February 13, 2020 —  This year climate change is more central than ever at the Munich Security Conference (MSC), the leading international forum for senior military, security and foreign policy leaders, with the release of the inaugural “World Climate and Security Report 2020” by the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS). The release will be announced by General (Ret) Tom Middendorp, Chair of the IMCCS, at the conference’s “Apocalypse Now? – Climate and Security” opening event at 16:15pm CET on February 13 (open to the public), followed by an MSC event on the report at 16:00pm CET on February 15 (open to registered MSC participants). The IMCCS is a group of senior military leaders, security experts, and security institutions across the globe – currently from 32 countries in every hemisphere – dedicated to anticipating, analyzing, and addressing the security risks of a changing climate.

The report finds that security and military experts are increasingly concerned about the security implications of climate change, with many perceiving the risks to global security to be significant or higher in the next two decades, and recommends “climate-proofinginternational security – including infrastructure, institutions and policies – as well as major emissions reductions to avoid significant-to-catastrophic security threats. 

In highlighting the key findings of the report, and the rationale for releasing it at the MSC, General Middendorp, former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands, stated:

“Climate change poses significant risks to global security, which could become catastrophic in the next two decades. As this report, and the 32-country International Military Council on Climate and Security shows, more and more military leaders are raising this alarm. It’s not just environmentalists. The security community therefore has a responsibility to prepare for and prevent these threats, including through climate-proofing international security at all levels. That’s why we’ve brought the World Climate and Security Report to the Munich Security Conference.” – General (Ret) Tom Middendorp, Chair, IMCCS (more…)

New Report: Canada’s Top Climate Change Risks

Canadas Top Climate Change Risks Cover PageIn a new report released by the Council of Canadian Academies’ Expert Panel on Climate Change Risks and Adaptation Potential (with the refreshingly prosaic title “Canada’s Top Climate Change Risks,”) the authors highlight twelve major climate change risks affecting Canada. While all twelve of the identified risks have a relationship with Canada’s national security in one form or another, two stand out in that context: Geopolitical Dynamics and Physical Infrastructure. From Table 2.1. on Page 11 of the report: (more…)

RELEASE: Amidst Growing Nuclear and Climate Threats, A New Series of Reports Issues Warnings and Recommendations

Working Group on Climate Nuclear and Security Affairs Report TwoRELEASE: Amidst Growing Nuclear and Climate Threats, A New Series of Reports Issues Warnings and Recommendations

Washington, DC – Building on the success of its first groundbreaking report from 2017, today the Working Group on Climate Nuclear, and Security Affairs, a cross-sectoral group of distinguished nuclear affairs, climate and security experts chaired by the Center for Climate and Security, released a second report and series of briefers based on its 2018 deliberations. These short papers mark the first-ever step in exploring how to reduce emerging threats as nuclear trends, the effects of climate change, and underlying security dynamics collide in regions such as South Asia and the Middle East. Amidst growing nuclear and climate threats, this pioneering collaborative group has identified potential new and unexplored risks where these issues collide, and anticipatory solutions to those risks. (more…)

Release: Experts Identify 12 Major Epicenters of Climate Risks to International Security

EpicentersReportCoverRelease: Experts Identify 12 Major Epicenters of Climate-Related Risks to International Security

Oxford, UK, 9 June 2017 — Security experts have identified 12 key climatic risks to international security that may shape the geostrategic landscape of the 21st century. These 12 risks are explored in a multi-author volume by the Center for Climate and Security and partners titled Epicenters of Climate and Security: The New Geostrategic Landscape of the Anthropocene, released Friday at the Fourth Annual Deserts Conference at Oxford University. In the wake of extraordinary upheaval in the international effort to address climate change, the report presents a compelling case for why tackling these climate and security “epicenters” – major categories of climate-driven risks to international security – should be a top priority for governments and institutions around the world.

“Any one of the climate and security epicenters can be disruptive,” said Caitlin Werrell, Co-President of the Center for Climate and Security and editor of the report. “Taken together, however, these epicenters can present a serious challenge to international security as we understand it.” (more…)

New Paper: Hydro-Diplomacy: Strengthening Foreign Policy for Transboundary Waters

Indus.A2002274.0610.1kmA new paper, “The Rise of Hydro-Diplomacy: Strengthening Foreign Policy For Transboundary Waters”  was recently released at World Water Week by Climate Diplomacy, a collaborative effort of the Federal Foreign Office and Berlin-based think tank adelphi.

The paper argues that foreign policy makers can and should do more to address transboundary water governance, and that by doing so it could enhance intersecting foreign policy interests. It includes multiple detailed examples of where transbounday water governance can be improved, and highlights the role climate change will play in contributing to water stress, stating: (more…)