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Study: Atolls Hosting Critical Military Sites May Be Uninhabitable in 12 Years

Kwajalein_Atoll

Kwajalein Atoll

By John Conger, Director, The Center for Climate and Security

What do you do when your base runs out of water? That’s the question confronting the Department of Defense (DoD) in the wake of a recent analysis that says certain Pacific atolls may not be able to support human habitation as soon as 2030 (i.e. a mere 12 years from now), largely because sea-level rise will likely increase salt water corruption of the atoll’s drinking water supply, and drive routine flooding events that can damage equipment. That’s a problem not only for DoD personnel who live and work on these atolls, but for the local residents as well. (more…)

Military Leaders Address Climate, Sea-Level Rise and Resilience at House Appropriations Committee

Major General Green

Major General Timothy Green, Air Force Director of Civil Engineers, speaks to the House Appropriations Committee on actions by the Air Force to address sea level rise risks to Langley Air Force Base, April 12, 2018

“We are already altering how we do the engineering work to protect our facilities and our missions.” – Major General Timothy Green, Air Force Director of Civil Engineers

“Our goal is resiliency across the board.” – Hon. Lucian Niemeyer, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations & Environment)

On April 12, 2018, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs held an oversight hearing on the Fiscal Year 2019 military construction budget.  During the hearing, Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA), a former Navy SEAL who represents Naval Station Norfolk and the Hampton Roads region, raised the importance of preparing for climate change.  He asked Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment) Lucian Niemeyer whether the Department of Defense (DoD) was taking the necessary steps to ensure Norfolk and the other bases in his district were being made resilient to the effects of sea level rise. (more…)

Video, Quotes and Reports from the Climate and National Security Forum 2018

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The Climate and Security Advisory Group Panel

The second annual Climate and National Security Forum, titled “A Responsibility to Prepare,” was held on February 26, 2018 on Capitol Hill, Washington DC amid rising concerns across the United States and internationally regarding the security implications of a rapidly-changing climate. The event featured two report releases from the Center for Climate and Security, and a number of senior military and national security leaders highlighting risks and recommendations for the Administration and Congress to consider. Below is a video of the event, links to quotes from report authors/ speakers,  a summary of the event from our colleagues at EESI, and the released reports.

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Release: A Responsibility to Prepare – Military and National Security Leaders Release New Reports on Climate Change

Trumbo Point

Naval Air Station Key West, Trumbo Point Annex, Florida. April 2016. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody R. Babin

Washington, DC – On Capitol Hill today, two nonpartisan groups of senior military and national security experts facilitated by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) released reports identifying rapidly-growing risks to national security due to climate change, and urging the U.S. government to take those risks seriously (click here for a livestream of the release event, beginning at 9:30am EST). The reports include the 2nd Edition of CCS’s Military Expert Panel Report: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission and the Climate and Security Advisory Group’s Roadmap and Recommendations for the U.S. Government which outlines a “Responsibility to Prepare” framework for the U.S. government. (more…)

BRIEFER: Sea Level Rise and Deterritorialized States

Kwajalein_Atoll

Kwajalein Atoll

By Collin Douglas, Research Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security

Excerpt: The definition of a state in modern international law has four requirements: a permanent population, a government, the ability to interact with other states, and most important for this context, a defined territory. The prospect of rising seas making low-lying island states uninhabitable, or completely submerged, puts the territorial requirement in jeopardy. However, there are historical examples of flexibility in state control of territory.

Read the full briefer here.

 

 

In the News: The Sea Level Rise Threat to Military Infrastructure in Hampton Roads

military-expert-panel-cover-page-2016Virginia news outlet ABC’s 13 News Now did some great coverage of a recent gathering of researchers at Old Dominion University in Virginia which aimed to “develop strategies for dealing with sea level rise and recurrent flooding.” The news story covered the threat to critical infrastructure in the region, including its many military bases and surrounding civilian support communities. This included a reference to the Center for Climate and Security’s Military Expert Panel Report: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission. The news story highlighted the study’s results, which demonstrated significant potential impacts on military readiness. For the full video, click here.

 

Video: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission

sea-level-rise-and-the-us-military-mission_center-for-climate-and-securityThere exists a bipartisan U.S. national security consensus that climate change presents a strategically-significant risk and will require a comprehensive response. It’s an issue that the next President of the United States (and likely, many after that) will have to take very seriously. Despite this, the topic did not receive a lot of attention during the U.S. election cycle. To fill that gap, we are releasing a video (below) of an extraordinary panel of five senior retired general and flag officers from across the U.S. military’s service branches discussing the significant risks climate change poses to military readiness, operations and strategy. The panelists are authors of the latest Center for Climate and Security publication, titled: “Military Expert Panel Report: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission.” The discussion was the opening feature in the first annual Climate and National Security Forum.

For the report, click here.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more videos from the 2016 Climate and National Security Forum.