Climate change is a force multiplier for geopolitical instability and operational readiness, the stressors of which profoundly impact national security priorities and resources. From billions of dollars of flooding damage to bases around the globe, to violence over access to water, to an increase in migration events, the U.S. national security and defense community has increasingly sounded the alarm on the impact climate change has on American interests. CNAS experts are sharpening the conversation around how the U.S. can accelerate economic security tools to lead in the fight against climate change. Continue reading this edition of Sharper to explore their commentary, analysis, and policy recommendations.
Reimagine: Clean Energy Technology and U.S. Industrial Policy
Although the United States was an early leader in clean energy research and development and continues to make major technological advances, it has, over time, fallen behind in the commercialization and manufacturing of the technologies developed domestically. This new study, from Jonas Nahm, reviews U.S. industrial policy for clean energy sectors and offers four recommendations to improve the competitiveness of domestic clean energy industries and avoid falling behind other economies that have made the development of domestic clean energy supply chains central elements of their response to climate change.
Over the last decade, the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere have encountered an evolving set of irregular migration events. The United States and other Western Hemisphere countries are collaborating on a migration management strategy that addresses the increasing frequency and scale of irregular migration events stemming from a broader range of factors, like climate change. A new report from Cristobal Ramón proposes two intersecting sets of recommendations for the United States and for L.A. Declaration signatories that address the weaknesses in these policies.
Russia and China in the Arctic
The Arctic’s melting icecaps are changing more than the geography of the region. The diminishing sea ice and declining snow cover have allowed for new shipping lanes and growing access to natural resources, increasing geopolitical competition in the region. A defining feature of this competition is the growing interest and activity of Russia and China in the Arctic. Not only have the two countries increased their presence in the region, but coordination between them is growing. A report from CNAS provides an in-depth examination of Russia-China relations in the region, and provides recommendations for navigating the nations’ partnership in the Arctic.
Competitive Connectivity: Crafting Transatlantic Responses to China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Changes from extreme weather and rising sea levels will require new infrastructure that can either be filled by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) or Western approaches. While countries were initially eager to sign up for the initiative and take advantage of what China was offering, more recently the sheen has come off BRI projects as they face mounting obstacles. A new report from CNAS dives into how the United States and Europe should approach China’s infrastructure initiatives and develop democratic alternatives.
Virtual Event | Climate Security
The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that climate change will increasingly exacerbate risks to U.S. national security interests as geopolitical stability and tensions rise. To discuss the acute impact of these risks, CNAS will host a virtual event on climate and national security on Thursday, October 13, at 2:00PM EDT. The event will be the first in a series, focusing on the geostrategic and operational impacts of climate change on U.S. national security interests. Speaker lineup to be announced soon. Register for updates and announcements.
The New Race for Energy Resources
"Today, scarcity, price volatility, and concerns over climate change are pushing world leaders and businesses away from fossil fuels," writes Abigail Wulf for CNAS. "In their place, newer, cleaner energy sources—such as wind and solar power—and types of transportation—such as electric vehicles—are gaining market share. However, these energy and transportation shifts come with their own challenges, which are beginning to propagate across the global stage."
A Climate Change–Ready Force
"Building a climate change–ready force will require integrating and adopting innovative climate technologies across the entire DoD," argues Bethan Saunders for CNAS. "Because of its agility and track record of innovation, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is the best-placed organization to spearhead and launch critical investments in climate technology within the DoD. In particular, the DIU should create a new climate technology focus area to identify and scale the most cutting-edge climate technology to strengthen U.S. national security."
Defense, Climate and Energy Markets are Inexorably Linked. It’s Time to Acknowledge It.
"While the era of thinking the Defense Department has no need to worry about the environment has thankfully ended, too many in Washington still think of climate change, energy markets, and national security as, at best, tangentially linked, and at worst opposites that cannot peacefully coexist," observes Daniel Silverberg in Breaking Defense. "It’s a view unfortunately shared on each side—climate activists often view defense spending as wasteful and polluting, while defense experts return fire that climate activists are downplaying national security. But with the Biden administration making climate change a priority across the board, the idea that either side can succeed without the other needs to be squashed immediately."
In the News
Featuring commentary from Katherine Kuzminski, Daniel Silverberg, and Rachel Ziemba.
About the Sharper Series
The CNAS Sharper series features curated analysis and commentary from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges in U.S. foreign policy. From the future of America's relationship with China to the state of U.S. sanctions policy and more, each collection draws on the reports, interviews, and other commentaries produced by experts across the Center to explore how America can strengthen its competitive edge.
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