The Converging Risks Lab

The Converging Risks Lab (CRL) is a research and policy development-oriented program designed to study converging, cross-sectoral risks in a rapidly-changing world. The CRL will bring together experts from within the CSR’s distinct institutes, and from multiple sectors of the security community, to ask forward-thinking questions about these converging risks, and to develop anticipatory solutions.

The Climate-Nuclear-Security Project

 The Climate-Nuclear-Security Project (CNSP) is the first project of the CRL,  bringing together the experience and expertise housed within the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and the Center on Strategic Weapons (CSW), as well as the broader climate security and nuclear security policy communities. The CNSP recognizes that climate and nuclear risks are growing more complex and interconnected, and are beginning to converge in new ways. Understanding and managing this risk landscape requires climate, nuclear and security experts to break down issue sector barriers and develop joint solutions.

Team:

Christine Parthemore, Manager, Climate-Nuclear-Security Program
cparthemore at csrisks dot org

Andrea Rezzonico, Assistant Director, The Climate-Nuclear-Security Program
arezzonico at csrisks dot org

Featured report

               CSR Working Group on Climate Nuclear Security Affairs_Egypt Report_2019_6_11

More: 

Context:

Today, the international community is experiencing a number of nuclear-related trends and pressures. New nations are pursuing civilian nuclear capabilities. Some countries long holding nuclear energy are increasing their nuclear capacity, while others are witnessing the opposite trend. The threat of non-state actors seeking nuclear materials may be growing. Countries continue to debate proper approaches for keeping nuclear systems safe and secure, while innovative concepts such as nuclear fuel banks are reshaping the intellectual landscape regarding nuclear issues. At the same time, governments worldwide are having difficulty managing the effects of the rapidly changing climate, such as severe natural disasters, new disease trends, sea level rise, and exacerbated resource stress. Even without these major influencers, national security institutions are experiencing monumental stresses from technological change, continually-evolving terrorist threats, massive waves of migration, an emboldened Russia, the strength of the nonproliferation regime under question from flagrant use of chemical weapons and the emergence of a nuclear weapons ban treaty, and other pressures.

In some ways, climate, security, and nuclear trends are evolving in parallel, shaping the global landscape alongside political changes, demographic stress, globalization, and other factors. In other ways, these trends are directly influencing one another and intertwining. Innumerable examples are already clear. Bangladesh is struggling against sea level rise and changing Himalayan glacial patterns in tandem with rising terrorist threats and overpopulation, all as its government continues cooperation with Russia to build nuclear reactors. Jordan, a critical security partner of the United States, has seen protests over the country’s potential nuclear program in recent years as the government pushes forward on plans to develop a nuclear energy sector, in part to enable desalination to help address the country’s dire water shortages that are growing worse with the combined pressures of refugees and climate change. Given their humanitarian impacts and the existential risks they pose, the effects of nuclear weapons and climate change have both driven new legal challenges in targeted countries and international courts, combining to showcase a new type of lawfare that is empowering individuals and small states such as the Marshall Islands.

Climate change is making the International Atomic Energy Agency’s nuclear work in medicine, agriculture, and clean water more important than ever, just as it seems its nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation responsibilities will continue to grow.

The Center for Climate and Security launched a program in 2016 to explore the many ways climate change, nuclear, and security affairs are combining around the world. In order to understand the diverse and complex interactions among these three issue areas, the Center assembled a multidisciplinary Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs. Its members include thought leaders with wide-ranging experiences in defense, diplomacy, business, academia, journalism, and international organizations.

Working Group on Climate, Nuclear, and Security Affairs

Brigadier General John Adams, United States Army (Ret.) Center for Climate and Security

Brigadier General Bob Barnes, USA (Ret.) Center for Climate and Security

Neil Bhatiya – Center for a New American Security

Dr. Joshua Busby University of Texas-Austin

Isabella Caltabiano – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Lieutenant General John Castellaw, USMC (Ret.) – Farmspace Systems, LLC

Dr. Sweta Chakraborty – Center for Climate and Security

Dr. Daniel Chiu – Institute for Defense Analyses

Hon. John Conger – Council on Strategic Risks

Hon. Joyce Connery – Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board

Lauren Enright – Control Risks

Francesco Femia Council on Strategic Risks

Shiloh Fetzek – Center for Climate and Security

Nicole Forrester – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia

Leon Fuerth -Project on Forward Engagement

Bishop Garrison – Human Rights First

Hon. Sherri Goodman – Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars & Council on Strategic Risks

Deborah C. Gordon Stanford University

Dr. Nilsu Gören – University of Maryland

Seth Grae Lightbridge Corporation

Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering, Sr. (Ret.) Center for Climate and Security

Judge Alice Hill (Ret.) Hoover Institution

Amb. Laura Holgate (Ret.) – Nuclear Threat Initiative

Dr. Corey Johnson – University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Theo Kalionzes – MacArthur Foundation

Dr. Geoffrey Kemp – Center for the National Interest

Daniel Jay-Young Kim – Partnership for Global Security

Dr. Michael Klare Hampshire College

Matt Korda – Federation of American Scientists

Meredith Leal – Independent Consultant

Dr. Marc LevyColumbia University

Dr. Andrew Light – George Mason University

John Mecklin – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists​

Robinson Meyer The Atlantic​

Dr. Anita Nilsson Partnership for Global Security

Dr. Janne Nolan – Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

Christine Parthemore – Council on Strategic Risks

Andrea Rezzonico Council on Strategic Risks

Nickolas Roth Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard

Dr. Benjamin Santer Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Commander David “Deke” Slayton, USN (Ret) – Hoover Institution

Elizabeth Talerman Nucleus Strategy

Elizabeth Threlkeld Stimson Center

Rear Admiral David W. Titley, United States Navy (Ret) Pennsylvania State University

Pia Ulrich – Federation of American Scientists

Hon. Andy Weber – Council on Strategic Risks

In addition to the participants named above, other experts have attended workshops and otherwise contributed to the advancement of this area of work but must remain anonymous at this time.