COP28: DOD Climate Policy and Climate Security

The United States Department of Defense joined the COP28 Conference of Parties, highlighting the role of the military in a world threatened by climate change.

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Climate State

Date Posted:

December 17, 2023

The United States Department of Defense joined the COP28 Conference of Parties, highlighting the role of the military in a world threatened by climate change.

DOD: Senior Pentagon officials underscored the Defense Department’s role as a global leader in managing the impacts of climate change on resilience, peace and stability during the 28th Conference of the Parties, or COP28.

It was the second year in a row that leaders from the Defense Department are among the U.S. delegation, highlighting DOD’s key role in the U.S. whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis.

“Climate change is altering the global landscape and, with it, the department’s mission. It impacts our military readiness—including warfighter training, mission execution, tactical planning, acquisition and sustainment of platforms and installations, and national and global security.”

In 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin signed the Department of Defense Climate Risk Analysis, which outlined ways in which climate change is shaping the strategic, operational and tactical environments for the Defense Department.

The report notes, “there are many ways for the department to integrate climate considerations into international partner engagements, including supporting interagency diplomacy…and sharing best practices.”

COP28 provided an opportunity for the department to showcase its leadership on climate and energy resilience to the international community and to discuss opportunities for collaboration with allies and partners.

“Climate change is a threat to global peace and security. This has been recognized for decades, but never before has the need to act been more urgent.”

“The Army is focused on solutions. We use ‘Engineering with Nature’ to bolster infrastructure resilience, and we are working with partners to develop alternative and resilient energy systems. We do this to maintain readiness and to ensure we can train and deploy under all conditions. The Army remains committed to working across DOD and the entire U.S. government to combat the climate crisis by driving adaptation and strengthening resilience at home and abroad.”

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Climate change is impacting mission assurance and readiness in the Department of the Navy. “Climate change creates a more volatile world, and a more volatile world calls on the United States Navy and Marine Corps. For our naval forces, climate change is increasing our mission set and reducing our ability to respond to that increased demand.”

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“For us, climate readiness is mission readiness. We are increasing our resilience and reducing our contribution to the threat so that we create every advantage for our sailors and Marines, contribute to the U.S. whole-of-government approach and remain a reliable partner of choice.”

The Navy and Marine Corps are targeting investments to enhance installation resilience, mitigating the vulnerabilities of energy, water and facility control systems, while investing in energy storage and microgrids that can enable rapid recovery from severe weather or cyber threats. The Defense Department is making ships and tactical vehicles more efficient building better warfighters and investing in nature-based solutions to protect infrastructure and people.

“If we are committed to supporting a more secure world, we must commit to making it a world worth securing.”

The Defense Department’s participation in the conference adds to a long list of actions it has taken to effectively respond to the changing climate and mitigate further risk to the environment. These steps include improving the energy efficiency of operational platforms, adapting military facilities to improve mission resilience and investing in applied research to ensure the military maintains its edge.

“We can no longer afford to move at the speed of government, we must move at the speed of the climate threat, and that means now.”

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