Bridging the Climate Divide: Can Risk Management Reveal a Prudent Path Forward?

  • Thursday, Feb 10, 2011

  • How much climate uncertainty are you willing to accept? The CSIS Energy and National Security Program hosted a luncheon to discuss risk management responses to climate security threats. At the lunch, E3G launched a new report, Degrees of Risk, in which coauthors Nick Mabey, CEO of E3G, and Dr. Jay Gulledge, senior scientist at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, argue that climate security threats are not being managed effectively. Uncertainty is inherent in climate change, and to properly manage climate change risk we must prepare for all possible scenarios. The authors propose an ABC strategy:

    • Aim to mitigate to stay below a 2°C increase;
    • Build and budget for resilience to a 3–4°C increase;
    • Contingency plan for capability to respond to 5–7°C increase.

    Panelists Courtney St. John, with the U.S. Navy’s Task Force Climate Change, and Dr. Daniel Chiu, principal director of strategy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, explain how the U.S. defense establishment incorporates climate change risk into their strategic decisionmaking framework.

    Despite global commitments to limit the most severe impacts of global climate change there is increasing uncertainty about whether and how these goals will be reached and if the global community is truly preparing to manage the security risks of a changing climate.  Dealing with this range of uncertainty will require thoughtful and frank discussions that are out of step with the current politically polarized atmosphere surrounding climate change issues in the United States.  The CSIS Energy Program is pleased to host a luncheon to discuss the merits of a risk management response to potential climate security threats.  To kick off this discussion, the non-profit organization E3G will launch a new report, Degrees of Risk: Defining a Risk Management Framework for Climate Security.  E3G’s report is the result of a two year series of closed-door meetings with U.S. and European security, intelligence and defense officials.  Following a brief presentation about the report, there will be a roundtable conversation amongst the authors and U.S. security officials regarding the potential challenges and merits of adopting a risk management approach.


    12:00 pm Welcome & Lunch
    Sarah Ladislaw, Senior Fellow, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS

    12:30 pm Presentation by Report Authors

    Nick Mabey, CEO and Founding Director, E3G
    Dr. Jay Gulledge, Senior Scientist and Director for Science and Impacts, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

    12:50 pm Remarks followed by a Roundtable Discussion with Current Security Officials

    Rear Admiral David Titley, Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy and Director of Navy Task Force Climate Change
    Dr. Daniel Chiu, Principal Director of Strategy, Office of the Secretary of Defense
    Edward McBride, Washington Correspondent, The Economist

    1:15 pm Questions and Discussion

    Registration required. 

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