In a commanding speech at Old Dominion University this week, Secretary Kerry announced a dramatic step toward integrating climate and security into U.S. foreign policy. In Norfolk, Virginia, home to the world’s largest naval station, Kerry said the State Department is creating a new “task force of senior government officials to determine how best to integrate climate and security analysis into overall foreign policy planning and priorities.”
The Defense Department and military leaders have been on the frontlines of understanding the security impacts of climate change, from sea-level rise threatening military installations like those at Norfolk to the competing demands of responding to humanitarian crises caused by extreme weather events.
“Just as the Pentagon has begun to view our military planning through a climate lens, ultimately, we have to integrate climate considerations into every aspect of our foreign policy, from development and humanitarian aid to peacebuilding and diplomacy,” Kerry said. “And that starts with getting a better understanding of the complex links between climate change and national security.”