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By John Conger
One of the most tangible successes on climate change during the 115th U.S. Congress was the firm establishment of a bipartisan consensus that climate change is a direct threat to national security. In fact, Congress voted in 2017 to say exactly that and the President signed the bill into law. Senior military officials echoed this sentiment on multiple occasions, but the Department of Defense has been cognizant of the risks it faces from climate change for many years. So what does all this mean for the 116th Congress? Here are three initial observations. (more…)
On July 13, the U.S. House of Representatives defended a provision in the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act which identifies climate change as a “direct threat to the national security of the United States,” and requests a report from the Department of Defense on climate change risks to its mission over the next 20 years. Forty-six Republicans joined 188 Democrats in supporting the provision, for a vote tally of 234-185. A number of representatives spoke in favor of the provision, and cited Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s words in his responses to the Senate Armed Services Committee, wherein he noted that climate change is a current threat that is altering the strategic environment, and presenting a range of risks to military readiness and operations. Secretary Mattis’s statements were supported in a range of Congressional briefings that preceded the NDAA vote, held by the Center for Climate and Security and its partners on April 27, May 17, June 5, and July 12. (more…)
There’s been a lot of activity in the U.S. climate-national security space in recent weeks, including insightful commentary from retired flag officers and national security officials, and hearings in the U.S. Congress. Below is a short list of those happenings, including links to summaries and sources. If we have missed anything, please let us know in the comments section below! (more…)
Sherri Goodman, Executive Director of the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board (that just released a major new report on climate change and national security) will be speaking before the Senate Budget Committee today at 10:00AM ET. According to the committee website, the hearing, titled “The Costs of Inaction: The Economic and Budgetary Consequences of Climate Change,” will explore: “how climate change is not only an environmental and economic challenge, but also increasingly a fiscal challenge, and will examine how failing to mitigate the risks associated with climate change will affect the U.S. federal budget.” Click here for the full details of the hearing (including the full roster of participants), and stay tuned for both a video of the testimonies, and links to the written submissions.
RELEASE: The Center for Climate and Security Encouraged by Congressional Testimonies on Climate Change and National Security
Washington, D.C. — The Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a policy institute with an Advisory Board of retired senior military officers and national security experts, is encouraged by testimonies delivered today at a Congressional hearing titled “U.S. Security Implications of International Energy and Climate Policies and Issues.” CCS Co-Directors Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell stated: “Today’s testimonies reinforce the fact that our military and national security leaders are taking climate change very seriously. Policy-makers on both sides of the aisle should take note.” (more…)
There will be two hearings in the U.S. Congress this week that are directly relevant to the intersection of climate change and security. Below is the basic information for both hearings taken from the websites of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, respectively. Stay tuned for more coverage of these hearings over the next few days. (more…)
As the partial U.S. government shutdown enters its 8th day, it is worth taking a moment to look at how the U.S. government defines “essential” government services, how U.S. national security is affected by that definition, and how preparedness for natural and climatic risks fit into that picture. As Mike Konczal notes, it’s not just national parks and zoo cameras that feel the hit. It’s a whole array of services that seem critical to the healthy functioning of a nation-state – particularly one with such significant global responsibilities. And in an era where natural and climatic hazards are on the increase, it will be important to assess whether or not “preparation” for these risks is deemed “essential” in the event of future gridlock. (more…)