June 21 2021 — The Council on Strategic Risks’ Converging Risks Lab and the Woodwell Climate Research Center released a new report today, Temperatures and Tensions Rise: Security and Climate Risks in the Arctic. The publication includes groundbreaking new analysis on the implications of thawing permafrost across the Arctic region for security infrastructure, as well as modeling of the potential security implications of rapid changes in ice loss, temperature change, and growing regional activity.
An interactive story map analysis of this research was launched in May 2021 in support of the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. Together, the story map analysis and detailed report provide important new tools for security actors increasingly asked to interact in a rapidly changing Northern climate.
While previous research has examined rising tensions and future security scenarios in the Arctic, few publications have worked directly with climate scientists to model how changing climate realities in the fastest warming region on Earth could interact with these human activities. With each passing year, military and private activity in the region grows rapidly, and these forces will be forced to interact with growing extreme weather, ice variability, and permafrost thaw in the North due to warming temperatures.
The report is the second in a partnership between climate scientists at Woodwell and security experts at the Council on Strategic Risks to examine growing climate security challenges in security hotspots around the world. A report analyzing Chinese-Indian border tensions (Melting Mountains, Mounting Tensions: Climate Change and the India-China Rivalry) was released in May 2021, as was a story map analysis of the case study.
The Arctic report is co-authored by Council on Strategic Risks Senior Fellow Kate Guy and Woodwell Climate scientists Dr. Alexandra Naegele, Natalie Baillargeon, Madeleine Holland, and Dr. Christopher Schwalm. The previously released story map was created by Carl Churchill and Kate Guy. The Converging Risks Lab of the Council on Strategic Risks will be launching a third case study report in partnership with Woodwell Climate Science Research Center later this year.