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The Center for Climate and Security on CBS News: Suppression of Climate Change Analysis by the White House

CCS research featured on CBS News – October 23, 2020

By Kate Guy

On October 22, Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) Advisory Board Member Dr. Rod Schoonover was featured in a CBS News segment discussing the severe security impacts posed by climate change. The segment, which aired ahead of the final 2020 U.S. Presidential Debate, highlighted the global security threats that a warming climate will exacerbate, and also featured cutting-edge analysis by the Center for Climate and Security

Climate insecurities “come in compounded effects, not isolated effects,” explained Dr. Schoonver to CBS News, including “direct harm from extreme events, water stress, food insecurity, erosion of econo life, loss of residences and property, and risk to human health.”

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Science suppression is a security threat – whether climate or covid

Femia_Francesco_2019By Francesco Femia

A little over a year ago, the White House tried to block the testimony of a respected professional, Dr. Rod Schoonover – senior analyst and senior scientist in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the U.S. Department of State, and former Director of Environment and Natural Resources at the National Intelligence Council (and, full disclosure, a current member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board). The reason? The White House thought the written testimony, which included widely-accepted descriptions of the state of climate change science, didn’t sit well with the President’s political take on the subject. And so National Security Council staff tried, unsuccessfully, to suppress it. In response, I told the Washington Post:

“This is an intentional failure of the White House to perform a core duty: inform the American public of the threats we face. It’s dangerous and unacceptable. Any attempt to suppress information on the security risks of climate change threatens to leave the American public vulnerable and unsafe.”

Last Friday, the White House once again attempted to suppress science. This time by blocking the testimony of the CDC Director, Robert Redfield, on how to reopen schools safely, from the CDC’s scientifically-driven public health perspective. Without any exaggeration, my words from last June on the suppression of climate science in intelligence analysis are wholly relevant today, by simply replacing “climate change” with “COVID-19.” The pattern is alarmingly consistent, and threatens many Americans with sickness and death – including members of my own family. And so I offer the following words in response to the blocking of the CDC Director’s testimony by the White House:

“This is an intentional failure of the White House to perform a core duty: inform the American public of the threats we face. It’s dangerous and unacceptable. Any attempt to suppress information on the risks of COVID-19 threatens to leave the American public vulnerable and unsafe.”

The suppression of science, particularly on the scale we’re seeing today, is – simply put – a security threat. Anyone who cares about the security of the American public, and the nation as a whole, should be deeply concerned. My colleagues and I at the Council on Strategic Risks certainly are, and will be raising a red flag anytime it occurs in the future.

Francesco Femia is the Co-Founder, Research Director and former CEO of the Council on Strategic Risks and the Center for Climate and Security.

 

Climate Security on Day One

A Climate Security Plan for America_Report CoverBy John Conger

It’s a frequent question that presidential candidates are asked: What would you do on Day One of your Presidency?  Aside from the fact that there’s only so much you can practically get accomplished before you have your staff in place and operations running, a four-year term rapidly becomes a short period of time.  Congress often moves slowly and Federal budget processes are not designed for agility.  For example, the first budget a new president gets to write would be the one they submit 13 months into their term, which only affects spending close to two years into their term.  It can be frustrating, but it also illustrates why it’s absolutely necessary to have an idea of what you want to accomplish from the outset. (more…)

Leading Climate Denier Departs National Security Council – Good News, But Hold the Celebrations

SouthPorticoAccording to reports by E&E News and the New York Times, a leading voice for climate denialism at the White House’s National Security Council, William Happer, has stepped down from his position after a failed effort to suppress climate change analysis from U.S. science, intelligence, defense and other agencies. Speaking to Lisa Friedman at the New York Times, Francesco Femia, Co-Founder of the Center for Climate and Security and CEO of the Council on Strategic Risks, stated:

“Someone who denies the existence of nuclear weapons or terrorism would never be given a senior position at the National Security Council, and that should have been true on climate change, which is recognized across parties as a security threat to the United States,” said Francesco Femia, co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security, a nonpartisan think tank. “So while this is good news, he never should have been there in the first place.”

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