By Will Bugler
Senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have introduced a bill designed to increase the U.S governments’ understanding of the relationship between climate change and national Security. Brought forward on the 12th of March, The Climate Security Act of 2019 is wide ranging, examining the economic, environmental, and geopolitical impacts fuelled by climate change.
The Climate Security Act of 2019 was cosponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.); Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.); Chris Coons (D-Del.); Tom Udall (D-N.M.); Chris Murphy (D-Conn.); Tim Kaine (D-Va.); Ed Markey (D-Mass.); Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.); Cory Booker (D-N.J.); and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
If adopted, the Act would create a new Climate Security Envoy within the Department of State. The role would address climate security vulnerabilities and serve as the primary federal contact for climate security issues. The Climate Security Envoy would:
- Work with climate scientists and security professionals to conduct analysis and risk assessments of the socioeconomic, geopolitical, and security risks associated with climate change.
- Design climate security policies derived from those findings.
- Develop and coordinate the application of climate security strategies that integrate climate policy seamlessly within the Department of State and across U.S. Embassies.
- Develop and maintain relationships with other nations to address international climate security issues.
The Climate Security Envoy would also advise the President of the complexities and dynamics of global security threats exacerbated by climate. In addition, the bill would re-establish the Special Representative for the Artic.
The bill comes at a time when the security risks of climate change are gaining national attention. The previous week, more than 50 former senior military and national security officials security officials, including former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, penned a letter to the President emphasizing the need to include climate change in national security planning.