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U.S. House Adaptation Hearings Offer Insights for Climate Security Action

By Elsa Barron

In early March, the U.S. House of Representatives hosted two hearings on climate adaptation in the United States. Given the current and future risks posed by climate change, including sea-level rise, intensifying natural disasters, and extreme temperatures, creating a plan to respond and adapt to climate change is crucial for ensuring security. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing titled Federal Climate Adaptation and Resilience for the 21st Century and the House Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing was named Confronting Climate Impacts: Federal Strategies for Equitable Adaptation and Resilience. These hearings closely followed the release of the IPCC Working Group II (WGII) report focused on climate impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. An analysis by the Center for Climate and Security on the WGII contribution notes that, “In the near-term, vulnerability and exposure of natural and human systems to climate-related risks will depend more on the actions taken to adapt, or lack thereof, than on climate hazards themselves.” Therefore, it is critical for all sectors of government to prepare for climate security impacts and prevent them from having their worst effects.


RELEASE: The Climate and Security Advisory Group Grades Biden Administration on Climate Security 

Challenge Accepted, a new report issued by 79 senior national security experts recognizes the prioritization of climate change in the Administration’s security plans, but states it’s time to move from plans to bolder and more concrete action.

On March 31, 2022, seventy-nine senior military, national security and intelligence leaders of the Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG), an extraordinary group chaired by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) in partnership with the Elliott School of International Affairs, released “Challenge Accepted: A Progress Report on the Climate Security Plan for America and Recommendations for the Way Ahead.”  This report assesses progress against the recommendations made by the Climate Security Advisory Group in 2019, many of which were incorporated into the current administration’s security plans.

The non-partisan group, which includes 8 retired 4-star generals and admirals, a former Director of National Intelligence, a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a former NASA Administrator, and many other retired military officers, security officials and experts, has assessed the progress made since the publication of the original report.


HIGHLIGHTS: House Armed Services Committee Talks Climate Strategies and Resiliency 

By John Conger

On March 16, 2022, the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing to discuss matters dealing with energy, installations, and environment at the Department of Defense. The witnesses were Paul Cramer, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment); Paul Farnan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy and Environment); Meredith Berger, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment); and Ed Oshiba, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Energy, Installations, and Environment).  

While the subject of the hearing was broader than climate security, climate change policies played a central role in the discussion. Highlights included:


Event: Challenge Accepted: A Progress Report on the Climate Security Plan for America and Recommendations for the Way Ahead

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District contractor repairs 750 feet of the north end of the Buffalo Harbor north breakwater, Buffalo, NY, September 10, 2021. USACE BUFFALO / FLICKR

By Elsa Barron

In 2019, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) released the Climate Security Plan for America, which called on the U.S. President to “recognize climate change as a vital national security threat, and issue a National Strategy to fulfill a ‘responsibility to prepare for and prevent’ that threat.” Now, three years later, a new progress report assesses the ambition and action of the Biden Administration on climate security, laying out its achievements and recommendations for future prioritization. More than 60 U.S. national security experts, including general and flag officers, former senior intelligence officials, and former Ambassadors, have endorsed this report.

Join CCS on Thursday, March 31, 2022, from 10-11 am ET for the release of the report, “Challenge Accepted: A Progress Report on the Climate Security Plan for America and Recommendations for the Way Ahead.” Register to attend the event here

UPDATE 4/14/2022: In case you missed the event, you can watch the full recording below.

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