In 2022, the world faced the challenging reality of the nexus of climate change and security on a daily basis. From deadly floods, heatwaves, and droughts across nearly every continent, to an energy and food security crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the impact of climate change and continued use of fossil fuels has increased instability and insecurity for communities around the globe.
At the same time, U.S. policymakers and practitioners took unprecedented actions to address these intersecting security challenges. Many of these actions reflected recommendations the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) had made in the past – both in a short report, Taking Stock: Integrating Climate Change into U.S. National Security Practices in 2022 and the more in-depth Challenge Accepted: A Progress Report on the Climate Security Plan for America and Recommendations for the Way Ahead, endorsed by nearly 80 senior national security leaders.
While we applaud and detail this progress in this briefer, we also recognize that it is far from enough. In particular, global investments in adaptation and resilience measures are woefully inadequate. The failure of the United States to increase climate finance funding last year – falling well short of its international pledges – was a missed opportunity to invest in U.S. national security. Helping the most climate-vulnerable countries address climate hazards can prevent instability and conflict that threatens U.S. interests, and strengthens U.S. credibility and leadership on the global stage.
In 2023, U.S. policymakers and practitioners will have many opportunities to solidify and institutionalize progress on climate security. Overall, the key themes for 2023 should be: execution, integration, and sustainability. Strategies and roadmaps have been created – now it is time for implementation.