Climate Security Assessment: A Methodology and Assessment of the Nexus between Climate Hazards and Security of Nations and Regions

January 25th 2021 - 12:47

Climate Change is widely being recognized as a matter of national and international security. Climate-related disasters such as floods, tropical storms, landslides and other extreme weather events are likely to occur more often as well as increase in scope. Natural hazards can and will pose substantial risks to overall societal stability and security. This report by Femke Remmits, Elisabeth Dick and HCSS Deputy Director Michel Rademaker presents a unique and innovative methodology for assessing climate hazards and security of nations and regions: the Climate Security Risk Index.  

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Climate change acts as a threat multiplier by triggering or aggravating existing cleavages within societies. More specifically, when climate change overburdens a countries' governmental capacity, societies become more vulnerable to social or political instability.  

The Climate Security Risk Index focuses on the risks to national security generated by climate-related disasters and comprises of elements such as territorial integrity, ecological security, economic security, physical security, and social and political stability. This unique methodology supports the combination of multiple indicators and plots both the probability of a climate-related disaster to occur and the potential impact of said natural hazard.  

Using this new risk assessment tool, decision-makers on the global, national and regional level can identify specific targets to prevent, mitigate and/or avert the security impact of climate-related extreme weather events. Additionally, this methodology can be utilized for tracking the progress and effectiveness of disaster-risk reduction measures or strategies.  

This Climate Security Risk Methodology and Assessment was coordinated with the International Military Committee on Climate and Security, sponsored by HCSS and co-sponsored by the Luxembourg Government, and shouldered by the Water, Peace & Security (WPS) partnership and Progress WP6.

“Climate Change is widely being recognized as also a matter of national and international security. The COVID-crisis shows us the importance of being prepared and of being able to anticipate. Militaries around the world have learned the importance of early warning based on clear defined warners and indicators. They also learned what the consequences are of NOT being prepared. There currently is no adequate forecasting tool for assessing the security impact of climate change. This Climate Security Risk Methodology and Assessment fills that gap and provides a unique forecasting tool based on a very innovative big data analysis of related global databases." - Tom Middendorp

“Climate change is a threat multiplier disrupting society and threatening global security and stability.  To combat the climate crisis and begin to “climate-proof” our societies, we need predictive tools that allow us to reliably assess risk and make responsible decisions based on well understood warnings and indicators.  This important Climate Security Risk Methodology Report does just that. It allows readers to assess the specific climate perils – wildfire, drought, flooding, etc – in the context of probability and impact on countries and regions. This tool should be an essential component of national security planners in forecasting levels of risk from climate perils and acting today to build resilience and reduce emissions.“ - Sherri Goodman, Secretary General, International Military Council on Climate & Security and Senior Strategist and Advisory Board Member, Center for Climate & Security 

Michel Rademaker is the deputy Director of HCSS. He has fifteen years of hands-on experience as an officer in The Royal Netherlands Army, where he held various military operational and staff posts and also served a term in former Yugoslavia. He has a masters degree obtained at the University of Tilburg. After leaving the armed forces, Mr. Rademaker went on to work at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) as a project and program manager and senior policy advisor on security topics for ten years. Eg. as NATO RTO project leader, he and his team developed serious gaming assessment methods and conducted several assessments of security technologies, and worked on numerous strategic security topics.