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Forecast: Climate Change and Security in the 116th Congress

Rain_on_Capitol_HillBy 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…)

Extraordinary Congressional Bipartisanship on Climate and Security

800px-United_States_Capitol_Building-_west_front_editOn 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…)

Climate-Security Rundown: A List of Recent Events You May Have Missed

Pakistan flood reliefThere’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…)

On the Hill Today: Sherri Goodman on Climate Change and the Federal Budget

800px-United_States_Capitol_Building-_west_front_editSherri 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.

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