The American Security Project hosted events in Miami, Florida discussing the impact of sea level rise and extreme weather on the security of Southern Florida and the nation at large. ASP Board Member, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret) spoke at events and to the media in Miami and Coral Gables. Admiral Gunn also wrote an op-ed for the Miami Herald leading up to the events which is available here.
The programming began on Monday, May 7th with meetings with the Mayor of Miami-Dade’s office to discuss the current threats of climate change to Miami-Dade and current and future adaptation and mitigation measures.
The meeting with the Mayor’s office was followed by a roundtable discussion with some of the key stakeholders in the region who responded to Hurricane Irma. The meeting included representatives from United Way, FPL, U.S. Coast Guard, and other organizations from the area. Admiral Gunn opened the presentations by outlining how climate change will impact the region and why the region should prepare for increasing frequency and intensity of storms into the future. The other representatives gave further background on hurricane response last year and outlined some of the challenges of that response.
The roundtable closed and attendees moved to the Coral Gables Museum for the public event. The public event featured opening remarks from Coral Gables Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli and Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Vice Admiral Lee Gunn provided a comprehensive presentation on climate change and why it is a national security threat for both Southern Florida and the rest of the country. Admiral Gunn explained how ASP analyzes national security threats from a nonpartisan viewpoint and the importance of such framing.
Admiral Gunn then discussed his personal experience in aiding in humanitarian disaster response in Somalia and how he personally witnessed the despair and lack of opportunities many in the refugee camps faced. He pointed out that without opportunities, some are vulnerable to terrorist recruitment. Beyond, international security concerns, Admiral Gunn noted that climate change is also impacting military readiness and operations. Admiral Gunn closed by noting that fossil fuels were key for developing the world but now, it’s time is up. Further, Florida can be at the forefront of the new clean energy economy. The presentation was followed by a short Q&A.
The program of events ended Tuesday, May 8th with an interview with local NPR station WLRN. Admiral Gunn spoke at length with the host of Sundial, explaining how climate change impacts national and global security and outlining how we can plan, prepare, and combat the effects.
For the full interview with Admiral Gunn, visit WLRN’s Sundial page: http://wlrn.org/post/retired-vice-admiral-says-climate-change-already-threatening-national-security
For Admiral Gunn’s op-ed in the Miami Herald, click here.