Center for Strategic Communication

October 21, 2015 – Andrew Holland, the Director of Studies and Senior Fellow at the American Security Project, joined the “Insights from a National Dialogue on Climate Change, Energy, and Security” conference co- sponsored by the CAN corporation, the EU Delegation to the United States, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, and the Energy Foundation in the Wilson Center, Washington, D.C to talk about climate security in the United States today.

“American government works”, he stated, “American government at all level stays local and federal government is forward looking and planning for reality events.” The government is planning for extreme weather events and is also planning on how to deal with it in the future. The military is going to involve on the extreme weather events’ prevention and confrontation.

Holland expressed that “Nobody cares about climate change as a national security issue.  They care about climate change when the rise in sea-level affects my city.” Even though climate change is a threat for nations, people tend to not frame this topic as a national security threat because people are not recognizing the huge impact of climate change towards human living yet.

He also addressed that “people care more about their own backyard”, which Syrian drought drove to the conflict is not what people expect to know or diagnose when they hear about Syrian refugee crisis. People do not recognize the impact of climate change until it knocks on their front door. The impacts of extreme weather events and further climate change will just come to your door without any invitation.

Along with this event, the Environmental Law Institute operated a conference named “On the Road to Paris – Dangerous Intersection: Climate Change and National Security” on Tuesday October 20, 2015. The event is promptly focusing on preparing for the COP 21 in December, Paris. The moderator and speakers discussed the effects of climate change on the world related to the current refugee crisis in Syria as known as climate refugees.  A combination of conflict, disaster, food scarcity, and rise of population caused mobility of refugees because human mobility happens when there is no longer water or food for the population. And climate change will intensify the conflict and leave Syria vulnerable. No one would predict that Syria could be this fragile.

At the end of the conference, they addressed that “we are inside of the climate change bubble and trying to figure out some way to deal with it without knowing how much it costs in the future.” It is hard to understand the change of climate because it is unpredictable; it is time to reduce the effect of climate change by cutting down its causes.

The second event related to climate change, which operated in the early morning of 21 October, was the “2015 Henry Bacon Breakfast Seminar: Security Implications of Climate Change.” It was run by the Norwegian Embassy and introduced the audience to the climate security issue that the United States and the world are focusing on. The Hon. Sheldon Whitehouse, the keynote speaker for this event, argued that “combating climate change is not the responsibility of NGOs or the United Nations”, but “it is a cooperation of corporate community and political to work together to find the solution.”  The influence to combat climate change needs policy and advocacy to have an effective result.

Moreover, Dr. Joshua Busby addressed that “climate change needs risk management”. He also recognized that climate change is a young field for researchers from poor collected data. It needs to be improving to understand the chain of food security and weather events.

Last but not least, Ms. Esther McClure, Director North and West Europe, OSD Policy, United States Department of Defense, called on the attitude of government towards civilians that “be a poor or a poorly government”, she claimed that the United States is able to work on emergency and better provide services that people needs than government.

Three main conferences happened within a week that brought audience many information and new thoughts on climate security, which low population get a chance to know about it. The Washington is getting ready to join the COP 21 Paris this year to address the issue happened in its nation, and around the world.

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