Center Addresses National Security Implications of Environmental Change
New Center Addresses National Security Implications of Environmental Change
First project will help scientists meet
the forecasting needs of military, diplomatic communities
First project will help scientists meet the forecasting needs of military, diplomatic communities
Scripps Institution of Oceanography/University of California, San Diego
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has opened a new center to help the national security and foreign policy communities prepare for the potential societal effects of environmental change — from food shortages and water wars to mass migrations and civil unrest.
Already military planners, insurers and government agencies that need to take a long view of climate are devoting resources to analyze their potential liabilities due to climate change. The Center for Environment and National Security (CENS) will produce research that could help the national security establishment accurately forecast where and when changes in nature could trigger conflicts within or between countries. Retired Ambassador Reno Harnish III, a career diplomat who served nine tours abroad during his 33-year career with the U.S. State Department, directs the center and said one of its first functions will be a June 21-23 symposium in which scientists and military leaders will discuss how improved climate forecasting could assist a wide range of strategic planning.
is a new area that has become prominent rapidly,” said Harnish. “Currently the
state of our capability to forecast is in the view of many inadequate for
national security decision-makers.”
“I worked on a whole range of foreign policy issues that relate to what Scripps does in science,” Harnish said.
The June event, “Climate Change and National Security: Securing Better Forecasts,” has already garnered speaking commitments from a range of military leaders including current oceanographer of the Navy Rear Adm. David Titley and academics from Scripps Oceanography. The discussion will cover a wide range of climate change-related issues such as the coastal security issues that are raised as an ice-free Arctic Ocean opens passage to vessel traffic and how the United States can contribute to an adequate supply of clean drinking water in coming years.
February 2, 2010