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25 October 2019

Joshua Busby, Distinguished Scholar at the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, co-edited an essay collection for a CFR publication titled Impact of Climate Risk on the Energy SystemIn his essay, “A Clear and Present Danger: Climate Risks, the Energy System, and U.S. National Security”, Busby argues the severity and speed of climate change constitutes a national security threat. He argues that policymakers ought to consider the national security implications of climate change across a host of issues, not solely its effects on military capacity. In the US context, he identifies four national security threats which could result from climate change impacts on energy systems, namely: 1) power outages in communities near military bases which in turn disrupt electricity and other services on site at military bases (2) risks of power outages in communities that require military mobilization for domestic humanitarian emergencies (3) risks of cascading negative effects on other systems dependent upon electricity such as hospitals, transportation, and information as a result of damages at home from climate change related hazards and (4) risks of international cascading effects if important parts of the energy supply chain are affected by climate impacts internationally. He concludes by providing four recommendations for policymakers and further identifying the types of analytical assessments which further research could undertake to establish a more comprehensive analysis of the national security implications of climate change. Read the full collection of essays here.

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