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Video and Background Reading – Warriors and Weather: Climate and Security in America

Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) look on as the guided-missile frigate USS Nicholas (FFG 47) departs Naval Station Norfolk ahead of Hurricane Irene. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Chase/Released)

Sailors aboard the USS Nicholas as it departs Naval Station Norfolk ahead of Hurricane Irene. (U.S. Navy photo by Aaron Chase)

The Economist recently produced a short video, Warriors and weather: Climate change and national security in America. It’s a good overview of some of the issues the U.S. Department of Defense is grappling with in regards to climate change. The video is posted below. For those looking for more than a brief overview, also posted below are links to the documents and background sources for the information presented in the video. The background documents are listed in the order that they are mentioned in the video. (more…)

New Report: The U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change

USAsiaPacifcRebalanceImageIf the United States is to “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific region  – building and broadening alliances, helping advance regional security and prosperity in the face of potentially catastrophic change, and advancing U.S. national security interests – it will have to seriously consider how climate change affects the region, how the U.S. can help advance the climate resilience of the region’s diverse nations, and how the U.S. will adapt strategically to a changed security environment. This new report, “The U.S. Asia- Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change,” published by the Center for Climate and Security, in partnership with the Carnegie Mellon University Civil and Environmental Engineering Program, the Center for New American Security and the University of Oxford, explores ways in which the effects of climate change will both shape, and be shaped by, the U.S. strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. It also offers solutions for how the effects of climate change can be addressed in a strategic way, through implementing region-wide “Climate-Security Plans,” adapting military infrastructure, and supporting key nations that are grappling with climate risks to their food, water and energy security. The report’s foreword, written by former U.S. Pacific Commander, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, III, USN (Ret), notes:

“As we seek to rebalance and reinvigorate our historic alliances, build new strategic and economic partnerships, and effectively posture our military in the Asia-Pacific for the 21st century, we must address the potentially catastrophic security implications of climate change in the Asia-Pacific and their likely impact on U.S. interests in the region.”
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CCS on Climate Change, Defense and Australia-US Relations

Members_of_the_Papua_New_Guinea_Defense_Force_prepare_to_embark_aboard_the_Royal_Australian_Navy_landing_ship_heavy_HMAS_Tobruk_(L50)The Center for Climate and Security’s Co-Director, Francesco Femia was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s planned visit to the United States later this week. Prime Minister Abbott has apparently canceled meetings with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and there is some speculation that this might have occurred as a result of President Obama’s recent climate change policy announcement, and push to have climate change put back on the G20 agenda (Australia will be hosting the G20 Summit later this year). To date, Prime Minister Abbott has been hesitant  to engage on the subject of climate change. Despite the politics of the issue, however, the Australian Defence Force has been taking climate change seriously for some time. (more…)

Must Listen: DOD’s Daniel Chiu on Climate Change and Energy Security

The_PentagonThe Woodrow Wilson Center’s New Security Beat just posted a very interesting podcast featuring Daniel Chiu, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for Strategy, taking about resilience, and the security implications of climate change and energy choices. DASD Chiu, a key figure in the development of the department’s strategic outlook, emphasized the importance of addressing such non-traditional threats to U.S. and international security, calling them “…emblematic of the types of security challenges we will be facing in the future.” As quoted by the New Security Beat: (more…)

Letter to President Obama on Climate Change: From the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Barack_Obama_with_Oval_Office_artThe President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAS, recently released a set of recommendations for President Obama on addressing climate change. The top-line recommendations include: (more…)

U.S. Department of Defense Leading Climate Change Fight

Rafe Sagarin, author of Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World, and the recently-released Learning From the Octopus: How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Disease, wrote an interesting Op-ed in the Arizona Republic recently highlighting the critical leadership role of the U.S. Department of Defense in addressing the security risks of climate change. As he states in his opener: (more…)

Climate and Security 101: Why the U.S. National Security Establishment Takes Climate Change Seriously

In a 2007 report by the CNA Military Advisory Board, General Gordon R. Sullivan stated: “People are saying they want to be perfectly convinced about climate science projections…But speaking as a soldier, we never have 100 percent certainty. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield.”

The national security establishment in the United States, including the U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence community, understand that climate change is a national security threat, and that we cannot wait for 100% certainty before acting to mitigate and adapt to its effects. But not only do they understand it, they plan for it – considering it’s implications in strategic documents like the Quadrennial Defense Review, and setting up an office within the CIA called the Center for Climate Change and National Security. But why? (more…)