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Heeding the Intelligence Warnings of the Next Crisis

3By John Conger and Kate Guy

In the January 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, the Director of National Intelligence offered this clear prediction: “We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or largescale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability…”

It is hard to come up with a better description of the current crisis.

A few pages later, the report predicts that “global environmental and ecological degradation, as well as climate change, are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond. Climate hazards such as extreme weather, higher temperatures, droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, sea level rise, soil degradation, and acidifying oceans are intensifying, threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security.” (more…)

Lack of Flood Maps at Many U.S. Military Bases Creates Risks

Offutt Air Force Base_battling_flood_waters_190317-F-IT794-1053

An aerial view of Offutt Air Force Base affected by major flood waters March 17, 2019. An increase in water levels of surrounding rivers and waterways caused by record-setting snowfall over the winter in addition to a large drop in air pressure caused widespread flooding across the state of Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake)

By Dr. Marc Kodack

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) required that for any proposed major or minor U.S. military construction project within the Department of Defense (DoD), the Pentagon must disclose to Congress whether or not that project is located within the 100-year floodplain. DoD was to use the most recent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood hazard data. If the FEMA data were unavailable, DoD was directed to create a process to determine the 100-year floodplain through risk analysis that conforms to standards used in federal flood risk assessments (see here). Elsewhere in the same NDAA, Congress required that climate resiliency be included in master plans for major military installations, although it did not define “major military installation.” Resiliency includes the ability of an installation to “avoid, prepare for, minimize the effect of, adapt to, and recover from extreme weather events…(Section 2805).” (more…)

Coronavirus Shows We Are Not At All Prepared For the Security Threat of Climate Change

KateGuy

Author: Kate Guy is a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Climate and Security

This is a cross-post of an article first published on The Conversation.

How might a single threat, even one deemed unlikely, spiral into an evolving global crisis which challenges the foundations of global security, economic stability and democratic governance, all in the matter of a few weeks?

My research on threats to national security, governance and geopolitics has focused on exactly this question, albeit with a focus on the disruptive potential of climate change, rather than a novel coronavirus. In recent work alongside intelligence and defence experts at the think-tank Center for Climate and Security, I analysed how future warming scenarios could disrupt security and governance worldwide throughout the 21st century. Our culminating report, A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change, was launched in Washington just as the first coronavirus cases were spreading undetected across the US. (more…)

America Must Reassert Its Leadership In The Arctic For 21st Century Security

Goodman Congressional Testimony_2019_December 12

Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist at the Center for Climate and Security, testifies before the U.S. Senate on December 12, 2019

By Ladeene Freimuth, Special Guest Contributor

As we begin a new decade and move further into the 21st century, increasing U.S. leadership and security in the Arctic are vital, in light of the growing threats America faces there. The U.S. cannot lose sight of important geostrategic changes occurring vis-a-vis the Arctic, due to the “threat multiplier” effects of climate change, which are exacerbating the security challenges for the U.S. there and elsewhere around the globe.

A recent hearing on the “Expanding Opportunities, Challenges, and Threats in the Arctic” in the Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation sought to highlight this need for the U.S. to reassert its leadership in the Arctic by examining climate change and national security challenges and opportunities in the region, with an emphasis on the U.S. Coast Guard’s strategic role. Climate impacts are “reshaping the strategic operating environment for the Coast Guard in the Arctic, and around the world,” as the Honorable Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist for the Center for Climate and Security, testified before the Subcommittee. In 2018, former Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, stated that the U.S. needs to up its gamein the Arctic, because the U.S. is inadequately prepared for the changing threat environment there. (more…)

U.S. Army War College: Climate Change Presents Serious Threat to the Military Mission in 20 Years

US Army War College_Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army_2019_7

On October 24, Vice News took notice of a U.S. Army War College report, commissioned by then-Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley (who is now the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), detailing the possibility of a collapse of the military mission in the face of climate change – in just 20 years. It’s an extraordinary report, showing how seriously the U.S. military takes the security risks of climate change, despite political pressures to the contrary. In light of this story, we are herein re-posting a summary of the report by the Center for Climate and Security’s Mariah Furtek, published on August 1, below. (more…)

Army War College: The U.S. Military is “Precariously Underprepared” for Climate Change

US Army War College_Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army_2019_7By Mariah Furtek

The United States Army War College recently released a report exploring the significant impact climate change will have on national security and U.S. Army operations, and offering a set of urgent recommendations. The second sentence of the report sets the stage immediately, stating “the Department of Defense is precariously underprepared for the national security implications of climate change-induced global security challenges.” 

The report details the most eminent threats climate change poses to national security: severe weather events, mass migration, diminishing global freshwater supplies, changing disease vectors, Arctic competition, stress on the U.S. power grid and nuclear reactors, as well as sea-level rise.  (more…)

BRIEFER: Climate Change and Vietnamese Fisheries, Opportunities for Conflict Prevention

The Center for Climate and Security’s Dr. Marcus Dubois King writes about the climate change-fisheries-conflict nexus in a new briefer titled “Climate Change and Vietnamese Fisheries: Opportunities for Conflict Prevention.” The article will also appear in a forthcoming multi-author volume from the Center. For the full briefer, click here. For a summary, see below.

Summary: Climate Change and Vietnamese Fisheries: Opportunities for Conflict Prevention

Vietnamese fisheries in the South China Sea are a vital economic resource that is in decline and susceptible to climate change. Chinese vessels have engaged Vietnamese counterparts as they pursue catches in waters claimed by China. Projected further northward migration of fish stocks into these waters caused by warming ocean temperatures could aggravate tensions as Vietnamese fishers follow. Likewise, climate change’s impacts on Vietnamese aquaculture threaten food security in areas including those experiencing heavy inward migration. Ethnic minority groups experience a disproportionate share of the negative consequences; a situation that may aggravate existing tensions. Vietnam is an emerging strategic partner in the region. Vietnamese conflict with China and internal instability are inimical to U.S. interests. As it rebalances foreign policy toward the Asia-Pacific, the U.S. government should dedicate more resources, including military assets and climate finance, toward improving climate resilience and fisheries management in Vietnam. Constructive engagement on climate change can promote Vietnamese internal and external security while reducing the possibility of conflict with China. Click here for the full briefer.