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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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Climate Security in the State Department 2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the UNFCCC

600px-Department_of_stateThe U.S. State Department has just released its “2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.” As announced on the official website:

On January 1, 2014, the Department of State submitted the 2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This report, which includes the First U.S. Biennial Report and Sixth U.S. National Communication to the UNFCCC, details actions the United States is taking domestically and internationally to mitigate, adapt to, and assist others in addressing climate change. (more…)

President Obama’s Executive Order and Climate Security

SouthPorticoLast Friday, President Obama issued an Executive Order (EO) titled “Preparing the United States for the Impact of Climate Change.” As the name of the EO implies, it is focused on preparing for and adapting to the current and imminent effects of climate change, rather than reducing emissions. In that sense, it is a welcome complement to the President’s Climate Action Plan issued this past June, whose primary emphasis was CO2 reductions. (more…)

Climate Adaptation A Crucial Part of African Peace and Security

Severe_Drought_Famine_in_East_Africa,_April_1,_2011_-_June_30,_2011A report was just released from a two-day workshop held last November: Climate Change Adaptation and Peacebuilding in Africa. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Institute for Security Studies, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and U.S. Department of State. (more…)

A Legacy for Secretary Kerry: Pakistan, Climate Change and Holbrooke’s Vision

800px-Secretary_Kerry_Delivers_Welcome_Remarks_(8445457078)Newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry has a long and distinguished history of working at the intersection of national security and climate change. As such, the overlap in these areas of expertise will likely be a particularly important part of his tenure.  (For a good overview of why Kerry should address the security risks of climate change see this recent article by Coral Davenport). (more…)

Room for Climate Diplomacy: Secretary Clinton’s Trip to Asia and the Future of U.S. Engagement in the Region

A recent New York Times article covering Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s current diplomatic travels in Asia focused on her efforts to ramp up trade with the region. This move is seen by some analysts as the softer side of the Obama administration’s so-called “pacific pivot” or “rebound,” where the spotlight has until now shone primarily on plans to expand the U.S. military presence in the region. (more…)