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New Study Highlights Military Leadership Impact on Climate Change Perceptions

PACOM commander visits MCAS Miramar

By Marc Kodack

The divisions that exist over perceptions of climate change are affected by how the information is framed – the words and statements that are used as well as the imagery that accompanies those statements. In particular, a persuasive and trusted source of information is critical for ensuring that the information is deemed credible by audiences. Recent research published in Science Communication examined how different sources, including military leaders, can affect an audience’s perceptions about climate change while keeping the message content constant. A critical finding in the research relevant to our work is that military leaders had, on average, the strongest affect on respondent beliefs about climate change, especially when communicating about its implications for U.S. national security.

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New Harvard Report on Climate Extremes and National Security

sulaiman mountains pakistan_bigHarvard University’s Center for the Environment recently released a new report titled “Climate Extremes: Recent Trends with Implications for National Security.”  The report was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency, and drew from a series of workshops held at the National Academy of Sciences, Columbia University and Harvard University’s Center for the Environment. The resulting report explores what type of climatic events we can expect over the next decade, and how these events may impact U.S. national security interests.  It includes a very extensive scientific assessment of current climate data observations and near-term climatic expectations, detailed examples of climate change intersecting with U.S. national security interests, and recommendations for bolstering U.S. scientific and technical capacity, and creating a national strategy for observations and monitoring. (more…)

The 3D Printing Revolution, Climate Change and National Security: An Opportunity for U.S. Leadership

Eventorbot_open_source_3d_printer_galleryThis is a new report from the Center for Climate and Security. Footnotes and citations can be found in the PDF version here.

Introduction

Humanity has lived through many ages and transformations, usually without knowing that it was doing so. Hunters and gatherers reigned for hundreds of thousands of years until the agricultural revolution slowly changed the way we managed our environment, leading to denser populations, and eventually, sprawling empires. In Western Europe, the age of empires reluctantly but swiftly gave way to the plodding age of feudalism, followed by the energetic burst of the Enlightenment and on to the manufacturing juggernaut of the industrial age, which took us from steamships on the Mississippi to robots on Mars in less than two hundred years. We are now furiously typing and tweeting our way through the computer, or “virtual” age, with an unprecedented population, resource and climate crisis as an anxious backdrop. But as we stare at our screens, a new age is sneaking up on us, quite unexpectedly – one that combines the solidity, durability and strength of the industrial age, with the nimbleness, flexibility and adaptability of the virtual age. This mix will be necessary to address the complex challenges of a rapidly changing and uncertain world – not the least of which are the associated security risks of climate change. It is an age that has the potential to be built not with hammers, but with printers. 3D printers, to be precise. And the United States of America is in a perfect position to lead the way.

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Watch This Space: A Recovering Thailand and the Rainy Season

The rainy season is approaching in Thailand, yet the country has not yet fully recovered from the devastating floods that inundated the nation last year (the worst in over 50 years). As we highlighted last November, the nexus of climate change, rainfall variability and political stability in Thailand is a fragile one. Though Thailand is not considered one of the nations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, vulnerability can change over time, and recent natural catastrophes have tested its resilience. This is a critical space to watch, not just for Thais, neighboring countries or those concerned about global food prices (Thailand is responsible for 30 percent of global trade in rice), but for U.S. national security planners as well. Given the so-called U.S. strategic “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific, assisting countries like Thailand in their climate adaptation strategies may be a critical component of advancing U.S. national security interests. We talk about this further in our piece “A Marshall Plan to Combat Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific: The Missing Piece of the New U.S. Security Strategy.”