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Climate Security Report

Climate Security Report

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One of the most significant challenges to the global security system in the 21st Century will be a changing climate; the effects of these changes are already being felt all over the world. Climate change poses a clear and present danger to the United States through its effects on our global allies as well as its direct effects on our agriculture, infrastructure, economy and public health.

Though this debate continues to rage, there should be no doubt that national security leaders understand that this is a question of risk management.  As a national security institution, ASP knows that there is no such thing as “certainty” on the battlefield—there is only uncertainty. The same goes for preparing for climate change; the United States must be ready for contingencies.

Strategic planning for these contingencies will render the U.S. more secure, helping to ensure global stability in a warming world.

The following report aims to move past the current debate about climate change and towards a real, informed discussion about its security implications—both global and domestic. Though we do not expect that there will be legislation passed on this issue in the next few years, this report hopes to discuss the strategic security imperative of climate change to the United States and the necessity to prepare for the changes that lie ahead.

You can read the report sections in the links below or download here:





CSR – Part One: Climate Change and Security

CSR – Part Two: Climate Change and the Global Security

CSR – Part Three: Climate Change and the Homeland


American Security: The Impacts of Climate Change

Climate Change, The Arab Spring and Food Prices

Military Basing and Climate Change



  1. […] As clean-up from Hurricane Sandy continues and the rebuilding process begins, our national response to the historic storm should be examined through the lens of governmental organization. Though many of the ground-level emergency personnel from FEMA, DoD, and state/local agencies would likely have made it to the scene in some capacity as part of a natural disaster response fifteen years ago, the coordinating mechanism has been jiggered considerably. This is a result of a targeted effort to expand our collective concept of homeland security to include personal security as discussed in American Security Project’s recently released Climate Security Report. […]

  2. […] I am featured on National Journal’s Energy Experts blog, a regular feature, curated by Amy Harder, that brings many of Washington’s leading voices on energy together to discuss energy and environmental issues. In my post, I talk about how drought was an early, proximate cause of the Syrian civil war, saying: There is convincing evidence that warmer temperatures in the Western Mediterranean region, caused by global climate change, made the drought worse and drove hundreds of thousands of people off their farms and into urban centers. When revolts elsewhere in the Arab world erupted in early 2011, Syria was already a tinderbox waiting for a spark. I go on to note that the Syrian civil war may be an unfortunate signifier of what war in the 21st Century may look like. I note that the 2008 National Intelligence Assessment of the impacts of climate change predicted many of the stressors that led to the Syrian civil war. However, our military and politicians are unable to have a rational debate about climate risk assessment because of the political debate about climate change, saying: Political paralysis on climate policy in Congress and the government has poisoned any rational debate about the threats that climate change poses. So long as a large portion of our political system refuses to acknowledge the very existence of what could become an existential threat to security, we will not be able to debate rational risk-analysis. In the short-run, our military and intelligence community can do their best to prepare for and prevent the threats from climate change. In the long-run, however, Congress and the government will have to acknowledge that climate change is a threat to global stability (as we’re seeing in Syria) and hence to America’s national security, and we must address it head-on. Read the whole piece, “What Syria Can Teach Us About War in the 21st Century” on the Energy Experts Blog. You can read more about climate security in our Climate Security Report. […]

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