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Event Details

Date

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Time

12:15 PM

Venue

LBJ School of Public Affairs, SRH 3.122

Climate Change & National Security: People Not Polar Bears

Climate Change & National Security: People Not Polar Bears

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019  |  12:15 PM   |  LBJ School of Public Affairs, SRH 3.122

On November 14, 2019, the Strauss Center welcomed Dr. David Titley, the founding director of Pennsylvania State’s Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, to give a talk on “Climate Change and National Security: People not Polar Bears.” This talk was part of the Strauss Center’s Brumley Speaker Series.

Photos are available here. A video of the lecture can be found here.

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Dr. Titley initiated and led the United States Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change during his over 30 years of service, putting him at the intersection of climate change and national security. During his presentation, he sifted through the complex science behind climate change and broke it down to showcase that it is first and foremost about people. More people now than ever (just over 50%) believe that climate change will affect them, their family, or their community, signifying a potential major shift in future policy.

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Dr. Titley discussed that planning for climate change is all about minimizing risk and that the consequences of not planning for change are far greater than if no preparations are made. This necessity to act before it is too late is one of the many reasons why climate change is being considered a major national security threat by federal agencies including the Department of Defense. From the opening of new trade routes and oil reserves in the arctic to the disappearance of strategic pacific islands, more people are recognizing the importance to mitigate these effects sooner rather than later. Dr. Titley emphasized addressing climate change requires building more resilient communities and that adaptation alone will not be enough.  

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Dr. Titley’s lighthearted tone drew the audience in to look past the often divisive and dismal nature of discussing climate change. He argued that it is necessary to relate with people on a personal level in order to start a meaningful and productive dialogue on the negative consequences of climate change. Furthermore, Dr. Titley concluded with discussing the importance of trusting and supporting climate scientists, as they have recognized the threat and advocated for action for decades.

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