The Evolving Understanding of Climate Risk & National Security: People, not Polar Bears
Rear Admiral USN, (retired) David Titley, currently a Professor of Practice in Meteorology and Founding Director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at the Penn State Department of Meteorology spoke to a packed audience on the Cook Campus, New Brunswick on the risks of climate change to national security. Dr. Titley addressed key questions including: why is climate change a national security issue; how do we know it is happening, and what is the defense establishment doing to prepare for climate change? He noted that the Navy recognizes that the earth is warming and the ocean is storing most of the heat, and that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. He also pointed out that Arctic warming is causing summer sea ice to rapidly melt and thin, thereby opening the region to increasing access and maritime activity. Climate considerations to national security also relate to infrastructure (for example, naval bases are located along coastlines which are at risk of sea level rise and extreme weather conditions) and energy implications (for military and domestic use). Food security issues are a concern as 2 billion people get their primary source of food from the ocean which is being impacted by ocean acidification from increased carbon in the atmosphere. Droughts and floods impact food prices which can exacerbate instability in already unstable regions threatening global security. Dr. Titley noted that to tackle the challenge of climate change, perhaps nations should focus on what they can agree on, such as that everyone should have the energy they need rather than blaming one country or another for the climate crisis. "I still believe this country can do really amazing things when we get focused, but the time is running out, meaning the more costly it will be as the challenge becomes harder and harder the longer we wait." The talk was jointly sponsored by Rutgers Climate Institute, Rutgers Energy Institute and Rutgers Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
Video of Rear Admiral USN(retired) David Titley, Professor of Practice in Meteorology, Penn State
Guest lecturer Rear Admiral David Titley, U.S. Navy (Ret.) 3rd from Left with Program Hosts (left to right) Anthony Broccoli (Rutgers Climate Institute), Paul Falkowski (Rutgers Energy Institute), and Ying-Fan Reinfelder (Rutgers Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences).