Session 1: An Overview of Climate Change as a Threat to International Security
>>> good afternoon. We'll give a moment for the zoom room to populate. Bare with us for a second. >>> good morning. I'm the director of the I will ten against project at the Harvard Kennedy school for science and international affairs. It gives me great pleasure today to open up with some initial remarks for our half day seminar on climate change intelligence and global security.
The timing for this is great, coming the first week. And coming during the climate summit hosted by the Biden administration that resulted in some significant announcements in the last few days. And the question of how intelligence agencies, both U.S. An international, and the private sector can help answer the requirements that will be deriving from the efforts to combat climate change, the global stability issues that affected by the climate change.
This is cosponsored by the bellford centers environmental and resources program, and notablily President. The President himself talked optimistically climate change that evenrivals can find room to cooperate on. Michael bloomberg talked about thecriticality of information for businesses and cities. So we get to notably by the climate security. Climate change is the top of the foreign policyagenda in the United States. And that echoes from what we have been areasacross from agencies and from the the question of, how is the intelligence community in the U.S. are going to
support the requirements coming out from the president, secretary CARY and military and friends and allies and how we use our national resources across the spectrum, not to just understand the science of it but the human impact and impacts on our own national security. I want to think about how not only the intelligence community can support this effort, but what are structures international, trance national must play a role on this as well. We have four panels today to talk about the issues followed by remarks from secretary CARY.
For the panels today, we'll start off with the first one that is exploring the direct an indirect impacts of climate CHANGE to national security. What are the different things that we can anticipate and see that will affect the military readiness that is affects our competitiveness and affect the U.S. and the world, as far as my grace, food scarcity, et cetera. The second panel, we'll be looking at a bit of retro pecktive of what the community is with regard to the climate change. And what have we written about and talked about advocated before and what resources have been used and not used and lookingty current state of play. The third plan will be to look ahead a bit to imagine what new structures within the government and outside of government my need and what they may anticipate and responding to the climate change impact.
And we'll look at the role and the contributions of the private sector can be in our fourth panel with some representatives and businesses that provide not only intelligence capability in terms of data, collection and analysis capability but thoughts how businesses are thinking about this as well. And we'll conclude with the remarks by secretary CARY. So we're looking at great discussions and questions and innovative thinking around this. I want to introduce two folks that have been instrumental putting this together. Erin is the director of the national military council of climate and security and the directer of the strategic futures group at the national intelligence council. So we brings long expertise on this issue.
I'm delighted to have Aaron with us today. And we have Christian wood, a nonresident fellow at the intelligence project at the bellford center. 20 year ciA veteran and worked in the direct of analysis and digital innovation center which makes her an unusual part of this and covered so many different parts of the CIA.
She has authored and coauthored and different aspects of climate change and national security. And these articles of a basis for the discussions that we'll be having today. So we're delighted to have Christian with us as well. We have a great lineup of people that are in government and out of government in the private sector and people that bring scientific expertise.
And we look forward to some great discussions. I would like it turn the mic over to Erin and go from there. >>> thank you very much. I'm so happy to be here today.
It is a great way to cap off a big week for climate change and issues. The center of climate and security is thrilled to partner with you on the conference. The center for climate and security have worked for over a decade to illuminate the lengths of climate change and security and we have done this in issue and developing policy recommendations and building a community of practice here in the United States and around the globe of researchers and academics, policymakers, all coming together to working on the issues and advance them within the halls of government. In EARLY 2020, the climate for security released an assessment of global climate change that looked at two different scenarios, curve degree of 2-degrees of warming and four degrees cellsious. Even at low warming, each region of the world will face sever risks over the next three decades. Higher warming will cause irreversible global risks in the 21st century.
And our panel is going to dig into what the risks look like. The findings of that report underscore the importance of a two pronged part of the climate security. If we went to net zero tomorrow, we have challenges with which to contend. And there is a key role for the intelligence community and helping the governments think through what the risks are. The second prong that the world must also commit to cut Emissions to avoid the catastrophic the unmanageable RISKs of the high warming scenario.
So those are the two sides of the coin. So the question is how do we move from identifying the problem, something that we who serve on the intelligence community are good at and how it take action and what role and should should the ic play in doing so. How do we redefine national security and transition to manage the climate change.
As we heard yesterday at the Biden administration's summit these are the kind ofinstitutions and partners around the globe are grappling with. I was heart ended to hear the director of national intelligence say, to address climate change probably, it must be the center and fully integrated with every aspect of our analysis, to not only monitor the threat but critically think to ensure that the policymakers understand the implication of climate change on seemingly unrelated policies. To me that is the key. We're going to dig deeper into this and we have and all star lineup. I cannot wait to get started. Thank you for joining us today.
Over to you, Kristin. Thank you. Like both of you, I'm thrilled to be here to have this conversation. It is a day to log that comes as everyone said on the heels of the White House climate leader summit. And we had exciting conversations that took place yesterday and we'll lead to more conversations in the coming days. We feel very, very fortunate to partnered with the climate and security on this.
We'll talk to several of our finalists in the first session, these experts have been following these issues for decades and have watched the dialogue change from this a new topic to the point that we are now. So we're excited to get started on this. But I would be remiss if I didn't take a minute to publicly thank Katelyn chase. She has made every part of today's seminar happen from every bit of logistics to making sure that she got us all set and organized.
Thank you for what you did to pull this together. It was nothing short of amazing. So, do we want to go back to Paul? >> You can continue. >> I'm so Honored to be able to moderate this first panel because each of our panelists is representative of the deep expertises that we have in all of today's seminar sessions. The way that we go forward today in session one is I'll introduce you to the panelists and they will share about five minutes of remarks of their perspective how it is a threat to our national security. We're going to hit.
a lot of the high notes. After that, I'll ask questions for about 20 minutes p and we'll open it up to your questions which will filter through Katelyn. So I ask our panelists to come on video. Miss good man. I see all of you.
So we want to start today -- I want to introduce she was the first the Honorable goodman. Chair of the boar on strategic quick risks, secretarygeneral of the international military councilon climate and security and senior fellowty woodward Wilson polar institute and environmental change and security program. Over her 30 year career, she wasthe President for the consortium of ocean leadership and the center of Navalanalyses and also the executive director of the cnA military advisory board. and deputy under secretary of defense for environmental security. Dr. John -- is with the Harvard Kennedy school as the Teresa and John HEINZ of environmental policy and public policy program.
Professor of environmental science of policy and the department of earth and planetary sciences. Before we joining Harvards, he was a senior advisor on president Barack Obama for his roles for assistant of technology and the office of the White House and technology policies and advisors on science and technology. He also taught at Harvard for 13 years.
He taught at Berkley for more than two decades. Admiral Dennis -- is a member of the climate security advisory board. He is the assistant secretary from January 13th to January 2017. Where he led the greater restill of Naval capability and he commanded the American third fleet. He led efforts tocommunity the economics, security of renewable energy. He is a past member ofthe resiliency and-- he has served as deputy chief of Naval operations and work programs,overseeing the development steering committee of energy future coalition bipartisan center energy board and cochairman of the cnA military advisory board.
I realize that is a lot of titles for all three of our panelists. But I want our audience to understand the great privilege we have to hear from all of you and the length of time and the focus of your career on to topic. It is fair to say that you met the center of U.S. National security consideration
of climate change since the beginning of our recognition and that it had national security implications. I thank you to offer your five minute perspective. In terms of geopolitics, can you talk about how you see climate as a security threat? >> Absolutely. Thank you to you and Aaron and Paul and Katelyn all of you helping to convince this conference today.
It is terrific to be with all of you. And thank you for that generous introduction. I'm also a graduate of Harvard Kennedy school and Harvard law school. If you would have told me when I was a student at the Kennedy school and later on a teaching fellow teaching the analysis and evaluation class at the Capstone class, that I'd be working on climate security when at the time I was working on things how do you end a nuclear war and what kind of nuclear arms that I needed, I would have left because we were not doing anything on environmental security.
My security has gone to weapons to waste and now water and climate. For those of you students, your career could take a TRAJECTORY. When I served under as the first deputy in the 1990, wheel we're seized with the integrating environment across the Department of Defense and military activities, a lot of it was focused on cleaning up past pollution with air, water and waste laws, all continuing important functions. But it was later until the decade around the time of the protocol in the late 1990s that we began to pay more attention to global climate impacts and the impacts of climate change both on military activities as they contributed and how you could turn that corner and make it an opportunity. I would say when in 2007 I foundedded ciA military advisory board with the dozen retired military leaders and we spent a year with the climate scientists like of doctor and many of his scientists learning about the climate scientists.
A lot of them are what is with the climate stuff. We're war fighters. And then we said it is a threat multiplier.
And yesterday both John CARY and Linda Thomas greenfield in describing and characterizing climate impacts. What does it mean for your alls intense tropical storms and hurricanes, and rampant wildfires and floods, bothcoastal and rivers, we're seeing the impacts now on a daily basis inour own country and all aspiring to bein climate change. We look at rising sea levels to collapsingforecast and rising temperatures and persistent droughts, unpredictable and more around the world.
There are direct threats multipliers and there are the secondary effects like the global migration challenge that we face today with more people displaced than at any time since world war ii and increasingly they are displaced because of climate change. Much of central America is at risk now because of the intense storms, hurricanes two devastating hurricanes coming on top of a persistent drought that devastated the coffee crop and corruption and political instability. It is a convergence of destabilizing forces that are displacing people around the world.
Think of the arctic where the doctor has been a real leader. This is a place was primarily for us about submarines and space force it's and we prevented a nuclear cap by the SOVIET union through our efforts during the cold war. And now a whole new ocean has opened in our lifetime. Russia seized the opportunity to Monday ties the transport from ports in Asia to Europe. They are rebuilding its military infrastructure. China has aspirations for a polar silk road and sees itself as Antarctic stakeholder.
The U.S. struggling to the arctic that can be ice free within a decade. We have an area that has opportunities for further cooperation but elements of potential tension and competition. That is some of where we are today. The opportunity now with the great climate RISKs is to turn the corner as we decarbonize and lead by example. The military is the nation's single largest energy user can lead by example and how it becomes more energy-efficient and use other green technologies and many other ways.
The intelligence community can lead by example in making this a higher priority. This is integrating it across a range of analysis and collection activities. It undertakes in ways that it will give us more power and capability to climate proof our future in a variety of ways.
I look forward to our discussion. >> Thank you very much for those opening remarks. We very much appreciate hearing your remarks on today's topic from your perspective. >> Thank you very much. Is it great to be here. I want to focus on some of the key remarks that Sherry goodman.
The threat multiplier. We describe her as the room mother of us retired generals and the admirals about the climate change and the direct threat on national security. When you have a scan of the world. You have all kinds of fault lines, along ethnic, political, economic religious lines. Some of them are hot.
There are hot wars going on in the Arabian gulf. There are existing tensions in south Asia and Africa and central America. These are fault lines that have in, many, many different causes. But the thing about climate change in the extreme weather events from droughts of multi-years and floods and ocean et cetera, they pressurize the fault lines.
They cause fragile societies and the governments to fail. This creates a tremendous vacuum into which all manner of bad things can have. Illegal drug trade, people trafficking. People have lost a safety net, if you will, of security, quality of life plummets as the societies and the government ability to help the societies becomes inactive or ineffective. So that creates a lot more scenarios in which the United States military and nations will be called.
Business is going to get busier because of that instability and our need to protect regional security and global security. It ranges from the low end of military operation spectrum to humanitarian assistance. Think TV a major typhoon in the Philippines, in which there are way too many and they become more and more intense and frequent. That is not just combined to the western Pacific but around that tropical zone. It goes to regional conflicts where competition is scare and it gets scarce because of the pressurized effect and there is a conflict. Think competition for water.
That it will increasingly become unpredictable in the four major rivers of south Asia, in Africa, et cetera. So the idea here is there is going to be lot more business, unfortunately, to try to maintain some type TV stability. What can we do about it? we need to recognize that climate and the effects of climate change are already here. It is not going to get better based on a validated predictive models. As things warm up like the ocean, the atmosphere and land masses, these affects are going to become even more intense and more frequent and more widespread.
It is tough because unlike a traditional military threat, climate change doesn't happen on a particular time frame in a fairly accute way. It can when the weather alerts occur. But over time, a good way to describe it is former Navy oceaning ocean fer, you can see a lot of waves. They are large and small, coming in one direction or the other.
That is like weather. But climate change, occurring as it does, over a longer period of time is like the tide. It is inEvette is inevitable and predictable. So we need to make our military as resilient as possibly can to build in in civil works projects to actual projects to help make military installations and the surrounding civilian communities much more resilient. So those are a few opening remarks. I look forward to addressing any questions that may come up.
For some, this is a fairly new idea of climate change and national security. I mean, what's with that? a report in 2007 was groundbreaking. Prior to that time, it was -- I'll stereotype, environmentals yelling across the table to big business and you are ruining the world for our children and grandchildren. And the big business are saying that our opportunities are directly what we do. We cannot be concerned about global issues.
And then enter into the talking space retired military with extensive decades, hundreds of years of military experience in peace and war, say, look, this is a national security threat to the traditional sense of the world. We have to take it seriously and we need to do it in adaptation and do to try to avoid the worst degrees of warming in the future. That much is what the summit was about yesterday. We need to put in place, the implementation plans to make it happen. Thank you. >> >> I think one of the comments that you made resinated.
Military members with decades of experience and people like sherri, when people like you engage in that dialogue, it added to to the seriousness and the level of where we are today. You previous said to fix the problem, society has three options, mitigation, adaptation and suffering. We're already doing some of each. And we're already doing all three. We'll dig much more into the issues as we move forward. >> Thank you very much.
I actually understood that my assign Seattle was to talk in particular about the migration challenge to elaborate and some of the points that were made about the very serious issues of migration driven by climate change and the impact on nation and international security that is what I'm going to mainly focus on. I'll start by talking about exactly how climate change can impact and influence migration. What are the key phenomenons with climate change and what are the biggest human impacts of the drier droughts.
Ultradistribution of pests and pathogens.Increasing torrential downpours.Ocean heating. The increasing powers of storms are the big ones. The impacts phenomenon? sea leaverise and longer heatwaves, hotter andlonger wildfires, longer and that can affect migration, the impacts on human beings and human values and human prosperity roughly in likely order, the inDUNNdation of coastal regions and island states, resulting from sea level rise. Heat stress and heat stroke t turns out that the hot weather reduces the capacity to work outside in forestry and fisheries and it reduces to zero. The temperature and humidity make it fatal to work outside.
Already in other parts of the world it is the case in the warmest months of the year, it has already become impossible for people to work outside in any sort of heavy activity. And the area of the duration over which that is the case are both increasing rapidly.. Crop failures. That may be a bigger impact than heat stress and stroke. But crop failures could result from combinations of heat waves, droughts, wildfires, more torrential downpours and more pests and path begins, the multiple stress problem where most of the stresses are arraying from climate change. Fisheries collapse.
Pathogens change in ocean circulation. And another one is driving people from their traditional homes and livelihoods. Increases intensity of storms and floods and storm damage coming from the fact that the power of the strongest storms are increasing over much of the world. That was predicted by climate science. But it is extremely observable. The biggest tropical storms have occurred in the last ten years where is all of this going? and what are going to be the resulting numbers of migrants? it turns out that is a tough question.
As Sherry goodman pointed out it is growing and it is a larger part of total migration. But for a variety of reasons we still don't know quantitatively how big it will get and how fast. I will mention the uncertainties.
The biggest uncertainty is what human society decides to do. In the last day, we have seen world leaders coming together to mitigate the Emissions coming from their countries in some cases to increase assistance from wealthy countries to countries in need with their own mitigation and adaptation. No one has a crystal ball to which it will be carried out in the next decade, the next two decades or the next three. How many will human society will go into the threats. There will be some uncertainty about the size of the increase in temperature that would result and some uncertainty about the geographic distribution of those. The future of the sea level rise is uncertain.
We have reason to believe over the long run, the sea level will go up like two and a half meters for every degree Celsius. But nobody knows how fast that will has been. That is a big issue if society is able to adapt and move settlements inland and take other measures to deal with sea level rise or if it will occur at a rate that will make it impossible and drives people in large numbers away from coastlines and across international boundaries. We're not entirely confident about the response to agricultural GLOBALly about the STRESSes arising from climate change. The ocean's response to multiple stresses is similarly not accurately predictable. We know there will be a substantial response.
Nobody can really say. Of the people that are forced to move by these different impacts and the combinations, how many will move internally and how many will cross national boundaries in the literature of the question. It has been growing almost as rapidly as climate change itself, there impacts. But all of these are large. The question is between large, very large and extremely large. This is going to pose an ENORMOUS set of challenges for the international security system.
I will stop there and we'll see what comes up in the question and answers. >> I did want to touch on one issue and I want to ask this to John. In intelligence analysis, we have this thing called confidence levels. We have to make a call on things that are sparse sometimes. So we'll say low, medium and high confidence.
Based on a puzzle that 14 how the of the 40 pieces that you need and you're going forward and making judgments and the nation makes decision based on that kind of information. If we think about climate science by comparison, the data over decades is rigorous scientifically in a difference way. I wondered, you would be ideally the person to ask about this JUXTAPOSITION.
We have moved military and national security on much less information. Can you tell us if you've observed this or noted the standard for which people examine or people assess that climate change is really happening versus what we have seen in other topics. >> That say great question w I often start my public presentations on climate CHANGE by saying that there is ENORMOUS scientific confidence in the fundamentals of climate change, that it is real, it is accelerating, that is caused by human activities and it is doing harm and it will get bigger before we are able to stop it.
The country encouraging point on which there is high confidence is we'll be a lot better off if we take aggressive action to reduce our Emissions and to adapt to the climate that we can no longer avoid than if we don't do those things. When you get into at the time details, there are indeed many uncertainties. And sometimes climate change sun uncertainties mean absolutely nothing.
We know what is coming is going to be worse than what we're already experiencing . And what we're already experiencing, what we've observed, which is not legitimately a subject of controversy. We know what we've observed. S been document the extensively.
Climate change is doing significant damage in the United States and around the world, more in developing countries than in wealthy ones. When you talk about confidence, you need to be specific if you're talking about the very big things that we know for sure or the little things on in which there is uncertainty. But you're right in pointing out like in the military space, we have taken extensive and expensive action on uncertainty and confidence than we have on climate change. I made that argument to Madeleine Albright during the Clinton administration.
The SOVIET union intended to evade and occupy western Europe. We knew much less about SOVIET intentions and SOVIET capabilities than we do now about climate change. Secretary Albright pointed out and said you're right. The problem is in the case of the cold war, we had a plan.
In the case you have climate change, we have no plan. That was 1997 before the conference. We have a much better plan now and that is a cause for celebration.
>> thank you very much for that, the big muscle movements of climate CHANGE and how that he play out. But there is no question that these are playing out across the board and dire and expensive to the U.S. Economy. It has been significant and it is true for nations around the world. Sherri, I want to talk to you about geopolitics.
We think about the relations with our alley has and adversaries how they're being affect if Philadelphia differently based on their spot on the globe. We all face the challenge like we saw yesterday and today from other nations. We'll talk about that in a second. But I wanted to get your sense of how do you see this shifting geopolitics and how it shifted them and how do you see it shifting them moving forward? >> Okay.
There are many particular ways. So let me just address a couple of them. One is competitions now shifted to climate leadership. And now China and the U.S. Have been wanting to be the top.
And there is a race to the top. We should be competing to develop and export the green and clean energy technologies that we need to power our future. We will be competing with China in many of those areas.
We will be competing and cooperationing, that in the new energy.Russia is a near our term winner. It gains more agricultural area and has anopening arctic with economic opportunity and Russia does have 20% of its gdp cooperating with them. China is our major strategic competitor and there aremany ways there are trying to disrupt the global system. And we'll be checkingwith them on every point of from the arctic activities more than any other arctic nation.
But the infrastructure, arguably than the U.S. The NUCLEAR technologies. They're really working hard and all the technologies like perm afrost is collapsingthere.
So you see my gulf countries now that also are resourcing economy andfossil dependent and working hard to diversify and become solar leaders and will be needed to make fossil fuels or more energy sustainable. So you see the geopolitics changing. You see in the UNITED NATIONS that the combined forces of the small eye land states with other nations that want climate action in European and for the other area where this is changing is as climate threat municipality flyerscontinue to worsen and wesee nordic states. When we ignored Germany and other European countries in the lastadministration. And now the U.S. Social Security rejoining and wants to lead onthat.
So I think you'll see a lot more dedicated. I think more and more humanitarian and disaster administration will factor this into their strategies to rescue those as risk but to put forward how they can promote presence and engagement and alliances own partnerships around the world. Do you see China taking this up across the south Pacific you while the U.S. was a little less engaged in the last decade. And now you'll see the geopolitics around climate disasters will affect relationships and alliances and partnerships as well.
China can offer attractive alliances and partnerships. We'll be competing for those relationships and those alliances. >> What your describing is a shift in economies but also a shift in the way we compete.
It is something that the Chinese have been doing for quite some time . We'll be interested. I want to come back to the United States a little bit, if I can. I want to ask you a little more grand newly laterty about what that.>> I want to make a quick comment about the business of uncertainty and dealingwith uncertainty. What if we don't know what granule part of the what it is called upon. But I know that you've been heavilyinvolved for decadesabout its effect on installations and admission.
Can you talk a little bit about it is going to be. Retired Army general, Sullivan was the leader of the first military advisement report in 2007, 14 years ago. He said we never have a hundred percent security. If you wait for a hundred percent certainty on the battlefield, bad things will happen.
And bad things we're seeing are manifesting these things in these strong weather events. The things that we go to deal with the challenges of climate change are not a game. We can create economic growth, higher quality of life I love the QUOTE by former saudi oil minister he said that the stone age did not run out of stones.
We found things like iron, and bombs that were much more effective. We're finding sources of energy, wind, geothermal, solar, storage capabilities that are much better and you JUST need to look at the economic figures of the job creation in the clean energy sector compared to fossil fuel . They are concerned about. adverse effect on our existing infrastructure. 2018 hurricane Michael came roaring up from the Gulf of Mexico and practically ruined completely tindel Air Force base to the tune of $5 billion. That is $5 billion to restore the capability there's that could have been used in so many other areas. Because of need to repair from the hurricane damage.
The year before that, hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas. Camp Lejeune $3.6 billion in damage.
Two years ago or three years ago, the flooding on the Missouri river they had their runway shut down for months to the tune of $1 billion. It is the headquarters for the strategic command that is responsible for the command and control of our NUCLEAR ARSENAL. These are very real. The list goes on and on, not just in the United States but oversea as well. He mentioned wildfires. Wildfires in the United States and overseas directly affect the ability of the U.S. Military and our allies to practice realistically
the kind of skills that we need in a more traditional war fighting capability. So we have to consider our installations in the United States and around the world as the launch pads for any kind of military capability that we need to use from highly end all the way down to humanitarian assistance military relief. These are the installations that the power originates. We need to keep them viable.
the department recognizes this and they will be populated with the kind of analysis that will give us a sense of where are the priority fixes to get the resilience in our military installations that are absolutely essential to keep them viable? >> Really important context. We had $10 billion storms a year for at last decade. So is the effect on the economy much more broadly is also very significant.
>> First of all for the fundemental reasons, the arctic is melting more rapidly by far than the global warming. It is the fastest changing environment in the world in terms of climate change. That matters, not just to the 4 million people that live in the arctic, which is not so many, they are specialing major impacts on the hunting and fishing resources on whichthe people depend. But big changesin the fisheries resources in which commercial operations depend. They're experiencing high rates ofthaw withimpact underminding buildings, pipelines, highways and more.
The reason that everyone should care, whether or not you care about the 4 million people that live in the arctic, is that the rapid rate of melting of the Greenland ice sheet is a major contributor to global sea level rise and the rapid increase in the rate of melting of the glaciers is also a major contribution to sea level rise. And the thaw is producing Emissions of carbon monoxide and methane, that are adding to the global burden of the globally mixed gases and accelerating global change as a hole . We know that the answer is big the question is only how big is that? how much can society release without crossing the thresholds that lead to greatly increased danger. In addition, the fact that the arctic is warming so much more rapidly than the mid-latitudes is changing patterns in the way that is influencing climate all the way down to the latitudes. One of the phenomenons that we experienced in Texas with a long number of days is likely because of the polar vortex. It leads to lobes of cold arctic air penetrating far south into the mid-latitudes and alternating lobes of warm mid-latitude penetrating into the arctic.
So we end up with this bizarre phenomenon of seeing extremes of cold in the mid-latitudes and extremes of warmth in the arctic. Accelerating problems there. So the climate change in the arctic is a really big deal for everybody, not just those that live there. But it is a plenty big deal for them as well. >> I would invite Katelyn to return to the conversation to share some of questions request us. >> Thank you.
I just want to apologize. I have construction going on outside. So I apoll guys if there apologize if there is any distraction. >> What should the Biden government do to take care of national security when washing with China and climate change? >> Let me start on that one because I happen to be one the principle investigators with a joined the project with Chinese scientists. It is focused on comparative analysis of pathways to deep car ban carbon in each countries and understanding which technologies have the greatest central and which of those would make sense to work together on. So the fact is, is not just they rhetorical if there is a possibility of collaboration between the United States and China.
It is ongoing. In the Obama station is continued to function even in the Trump administration. I assume that is because no one noticed.
But we can expect that effort to ramp up. There is every reason to collaborate with China on energy efficiency and carbon capture and sequestration and keeping the carbon that would otherwise be omitted into the atmosphere out of the atmosphere and work with a government by government I believe that understands climate change. My interaction with the Chineses, they are serious about addressing the problem and they're serious about the collaboration in doing so. I think in the next several years, we can see more years of cooperation that are related to the transition to a new energy.
>> The next question is, how can climate security be more emphasized and the u in and do they support the plan planetary initiative. >> I think the current administration will support it that was launched several years ago with for the climate security is a partner in the pant planetary security initiative. I coleagues with the former dutch defense. The concept and the spirit of it are very much in line with the goals and objectives of the Biden administration.
I think we're going to return to an active role in the UNITED NATIONS climate security mechanism that was shaped in the last couple of years by Germany and others. I expect to see a more active U.S. Role in shaping that aligned with the ambitious agenda and the administration laid out for cop 26 of achieving Emissions in the economies by to 2050 and advancing green technological and working together for resilient and adaptation measures to reduce the risk to those that are most vulnerable in society. >> The next question, drought temperature rise instability will hit the Middle East hard.
I was struck by the enthusiasm from green technology leadership to protect the climate and to protect the economies. Do you see it as hope or concern? are there countries in Africa or Africa that are showing leadership on this issue? >> I do see some COUNTRIES where they see the opportunity, economic opportunity and why the leadership is committed to improving diversity, especially gender diversity. There are somests to include women and give them opportunities.
I think that is going to be important across much of the Middle East and particularly in the south. I see opportunities for hope if they can act quickly enough. UAe and saudi have that in their grasp. In Africa, I think Nigeria and KENYA and western Africa, very active. They are all represented by their leaders at the climate conference.
In Latin network, Colombia and Chile has been a model of climate leadership and the blue economy and seeing opportunities to really take the opportunities to improve ocean health through Marine protected areas and reduce climate risk, so much is absorbed by our oceans with this with plastics and other environmental pollutions. That is of increasing concern. >> Do you feel that a global expansion of nuclear power is a way for power? >> I will start is that NUCLEAR power clean NUCLEAR power has been part of our clean energy future. But it has to be done recognizing all the lessons learned in. In the United States, for example, 20% of our electricity is produced by NUCLEAR power plants.
We need to keep them healthy and safe and ongoing in terms of powering our economy especiallily as we continue to electrify many of the functions. But as new storms of NUCLEAR power start getting further down the road of research and development, deployment and pilot programs, I think we can do it well. The idea of having future NUCLEAR power far, far less liable to be used in terms of NUCLEAR proliferation is a big goal of NUCLEAR power. >> I agree with all of that.
And I would stress a couple of points. It is very clear it will be considerably easier to have a global climate challenge if we have NUCLEAR energy available to make an important contribution. Having it able to make the important contribution does require progress on a number of fronts.
It continuing efforts to ensure as we make them less expensive, we make them as safe as the best current power plants and preferrablely even safer in the anticipation that large numbers will be deployed. We need to find an approach to the management of radioactive waste that he is accepted technically and in which the public will accept. We need to ensure that we pursue the NUCLEAR power only informs that will not contribute to the proliferation of NUCLEAR weapons capability. That requires some real choices. Some OF THE advance NUCLEAR options that are currently under examination and the focus of considerable enthusiasm of some quarters will involve the product and recycling and circulation of plutonium, we should avoid that approach to the future of NUCLEAR energy.
>> If ecoterrorism a possible and he protested been amongthoseencroaching risk?>> He see seen ecoterrorism inthe form of environmental activists, killed in placeslike Brazil. I met over a decade ago for awoman whose brother was killed vote on agricultural lands. That has happened . There is the other related point to that is that water, in particular, has been recognized in recent years in parts of the Middle East and south Africa in the in the certify a form of ecoterrorism as well.>>
I think we'll be digesting this for some time. Too each of you, what was one Serra. They needwaterto survive and it enables them to come forward.
Could you see that as very important thing that you thought you heard or came out of the summit yesterday and what do you think it will mean? what might it mean for us going forward? John, I'll start with you. >> Let me start by saying I think it was >> I would take away the fact that secretary of defense Austin in his remarksand his participation in the summit is all in. He's not just he personally as so many other majorcountries made improvements improving onthe Paris commitments.
So Iwas extremely encouraged.>> that is great. Dennis? the leader of the U.S. Department of Defense, but the whole idea of national security establishment on doing something about climate change is really key.
It is not just let's adapt to the addressing the climate change challenge.>> That is important. Sherri, what about you? emergency efficiency and military insulations and clean energy and fossil fuel.It will not happen overnight. But to start down the road, we can use commercialtechnology bringing it into the military operations where it makes sense for the mission and we canhave military research and development and deployment help put the capabilitiesin the civilian private sector that can be helpful to the entire economy in >> I think this was a transformative moment to see a president within his first hundred days of office bring global leaders together on climate change despite some of us have opinion working on this for decades. Is it front and center, not only in national security and foreign policy and intelligence, but it will infuse all of that but every sector of society, from transportation to building to energy systems, agriculture, every country around the world to see the President's this is Nigeria and KENYA many companies that you don't associate with climate leadership.
It is about transforming the energy systems in society and lifting up those and protecting those most vulnerable and assuring the transition. And now we have to run like heck to keep up with the commitments and turn them into reality. I'm heartearned with the leaders in the last couple of days, like the second of defense and the direct of national intelligence.
They make make promises on things they don't intend to deliver on. >> John, did you have a final thought? >> Thank you everyone so much for your time today. I think we all learned a lot and I know we wish had more but we want to turn down to the second session. So do you want to show us the way. Everyone should have a link to the next session