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New U.S. Leadership Frameworks for Climate and Energy Security: A Few Recommendations

SouthPorticoThe Atlantic ran a piece by Neil Bhatiya of the Century Foundation on Friday, which focuses on “why the extreme risk and uncertainty of rapid climate change requires a new national-security framework.” The most interesting recommendation from Bhatiya centers on the role of the National Security Council in addressing climate risk:

The best first step the president can take is to create a new structure within the foreign policy bureaucracy, answerable to his National Security Council, which will prioritize contingency planning and make recommendations across multiple departments and agencies so that U.S. foreign policy can seriously address a whole series of coming climate catastrophes.

Meanwhile, the Bipartisan Policy Center previewed one of its own recommendations (the full recommendations will not be publicly released until after the inauguration), centered on energy security. Former Senator Bryan Dorgan (D-ND), and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), called for the:

…formation of a National Energy Strategy Council in the White House…Chaired by the Secretary of Energy, the council would bring together the heads of at least 15 agencies with substantive energy responsibilities to hash out policy.

Both of these recommendations are worth considering. Also worth considering would be for the White House to develop a broader leadership framework for addressing both climate and energy security, given the inherent connections between the two. This could include, for example, the creation of a Deputy National Security Advisor that handles the environment, energy and climate change.

The Law of the Sea Treaty: Strong Support for U.S. Ratification

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a critical hearing yesterday on the benefits of U.S. accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Secretary or State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey all delivered testimonies strongly supporting ratification of the treaty by the U.S. Senate. You can find a video of their testimonies, as well as prepared comments,  here. You can also find a good UNCLOS 101 by Will Rogers, as well as a full report on the treaty, at the CNAS website. (more…)

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