With military strategy? Sure you're


Production of GBH. Boston NPR X Today. The Biden administration has signed a bunch of executive orders dealing with climate change, among them a pause on oil and gas drilling on federal lands and a commitment to make environmental justice, part of the mission of every federal agency. Today. We're looking at the order that elevates climate change to a national security issue Errands. Of course, he is a former deputy director on the National Intelligence Council. She led the U. S. Intelligence community's climate security analysis. Until last year. Aaron Thanks for being here. How much is climate change currently factored into assessments of national security. And how would this order change that? Thanks, Markko. Currently it's not factored in nearly enough. The intelligence community and the national security community has not had the directive from its most senior customers, the president of the United States, asking them to do it. And now that President Biden has stepped up and said, this will be central to his foreign policy. They will respond to that demand. The order he signed today called on all agencies to develop strategies for integrating climate considerations into their work, and that's huge. That's a big step forward from even where we were in the Obama administration. Yeah, when you were in the government leading climate security analysis for the intelligence community. What were the kinds of threats you were looking at? And how were your assessments put to use. So we looked at how climate change intersects with other key national security issues. Whether it's you know, competition with China or the risk of conflict in places like the Middle East and Africa. We did included in the worldwide threat assessment, which comes out every year from the director of national intelligence because we the intelligence community is committed to tell Policymakers what those threats are even if they don't want to hear it. But now that you have this demand signal from from the president that will elevate this to more intense and and see your focus. Yes. So now that climate change is baked international security. What more should the intelligence community Be doing as climate change becomes a bigger and bigger thing. It should be integrating it into all of its analysis, so not just from a functional perspective with climate folks looking at it. But folks who are looking at China at the Middle East at Latin America Brazil, for example, my organization just did a big report on climate security in Brazil. They need to understand how climate change is shaping. Those countries and those environments so it needs to be integrated all across, and the intelligence community also needs to build out its cadre of experts who have scientific backgrounds and experience to bring that experience to bear on these issues. President Biden is ordering the secretary of defense to do a climate risk analysis of the Pentagon's infrastructure. Doesn't the military already take climate change into account? And how would this executive order be different? What could we see at military installations and with military strategy? Sure you're right, Marco Over the past, you know, four years or so we've seen bipartisan action in Congress to push forward climate security measures, particularly regarding the Pentagon and asking them to make sure climate is integrated. This will, though, give the Pentagon again that senior level top cover to make sure that they're doing it on a regular basis. Hopefully, this is just the first step that will be followed with some budgetary Measures as well to give them the funding. They need to do this, and they'll have a champion at the White House, both in the form of special envoy John Kerry, but then also in the president, who will be pushing this forward for them. Right? John Kerry, Biden's climate envoy, and he's going to have a seat on the National Security Council. What difference will that make and security planning and what models are there to look at? When thinking ahead? The difference it will make is that again. It will be integrated throughout because you know, climate change is one term that's been used for it within the national security community is a threat multiplier, and what it really does is it makes other threats more acute and its shapes the trajectory of these threats, so You're not having someone in the room Who can talk about that in the situation room. When you're discussing different threats, you're gonna miss potentially key issues. So having having Secretary Kerry there will make a big difference, and it'll send a signal to more junior folks across the government that they better understand this and take it seriously. Just one less thing, Erin. I'd love for you to give us an example of a security situation in recent years where climate change taking that into consideration would have really been useful. Sure, Well, I think you can look at the Middle East, for example, and the conflict in Syria there. There are a lot of different drivers of that conflict. One driver, however, it was the drought that happened pre conflict there and understanding how climate change shaped the drought and rain patterns there, and weather patterns would have brought a better understanding of the severity of the issues. They're so bringing climate change into the mix. Before the conflict. There's been a lot of done work. Since the conflict. I understand that but ahead of time. Fortunately, we now have the modeling capabilities to do that kind of foresight in that work, and that's one of the things the intelligence community should should really be doing going forward. Erin Sikorsky, deputy director of the Center for Climate in Security, Updating us on the president's new executive order focusing on climate change and national security. Erin Thank you. Thank you, Marco. Tomorrow, many around the globe will be watching when President Joe Biden is expected to reverse a Trump administration order Ah, policy that has severely impacted women's health and health in general globally. The world's Alana Gordon

Coming up next