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On 13 June, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held a ministerial-level open debate on climate change, peace and security—the latest in a series of UNSC meetings on the topic. While many ministerial statements focused on the nexus of climate change, instability, and conflict, the conversation underscored how today’s competitive geopolitical dynamics are complicating good-faith efforts to address climate security in such multilateral fora. Statements from China, in particular, suggest it sees a geopolitical opportunity in such discussions. Namely, due to the United States and other countries in the Global North failing to live up to their commitments to provide climate finance, especially adaptation funds, to the Global South.
In last week’s meeting, China used its time at the microphone to level a series of pointed comments aimed implicitly at the United States and the European Union (EU). Beijing’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, argued there were three areas in which the UNSC should focus its attention.(more…)
In 2022, the world faced the challenging reality of the nexus of climate change and security on a daily basis. From deadly floods, heatwaves, and droughts across nearly every continent, to an energy and food security crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the impact of climate change and continued use of fossil fuels has increased instability and insecurity for communities around the globe.
At the same time, U.S. policymakers and practitioners took unprecedented actions to address these intersecting security challenges. Many of these actions reflected recommendations the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) had made in the past – both in a short report, Taking Stock: Integrating Climate Change into U.S. National Security Practices in 2022 and the more in-depth Challenge Accepted: A Progress Report on the Climate Security Plan for America and Recommendations for the Way Ahead, endorsed by nearly 80 senior national security leaders.
While we applaud and detail this progress in this briefer, we also recognize that it is far from enough. In particular, global investments in adaptation and resilience measures are woefully inadequate. The failure of the United States to increase climate finance funding last year – falling well short of its international pledges – was a missed opportunity to invest in U.S. national security. Helping the most climate-vulnerable countries address climate hazards can prevent instability and conflict that threatens U.S. interests, and strengthens U.S. credibility and leadership on the global stage.
In 2023, U.S. policymakers and practitioners will have many opportunities to solidify and institutionalize progress on climate security. Overall, the key themes for 2023 should be: execution, integration, and sustainability. Strategies and roadmaps have been created – now it is time for implementation.
By John Conger
President Biden signed the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on December 23, 2022, a $858 billion measure setting defense policy and authorizing spending for next year. While the bill includes thousands of provisions addressing issues across the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), its biggest impact on climate security this year is its broad support of the efforts the DoD proposed in its budget request.
In recent years, Congress has used this must-pass legislation to highlight and respond to climate threats to national security. Past NDAAs have directed DoD to deliver strategies and plans addressing climate-related issues such as the opening Arctic or resilience to extreme weather, and have provided a wide range of new authorities to DoD to support resilience efforts. Until now, however, the bill has given less attention to the funding authorization needed to turn the plans into action.(more…)
By Pauline Baudu
On November 3, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) hosted a public discussion moderated by Hon. John Conger, Director Emeritus of CCS and Senior Advisor at the Council on Strategic Risks, on “Understanding the Army, Navy, and Air Force Climate Strategies.”
The event featured Hon. Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist at CCS and Chair of the Board of the Council on Strategic Risks; Ed Oshiba, Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Air Force (Energy, Installations and Environment); Paul Farnan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army (Installations, Energy and Environment); Jim Balocki, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment) and Rachel Ross, Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Panelists discussed the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force climate plans released earlier this year, an important step towards integrating climate security planning across DoD and adding substance to existing national strategic efforts, as noted by Mr. Conger.(more…)