How the DoD’s climate change road map can help utilities

by / Wednesday, 15 October 2014 / Published in Smartgrid-CI Blog

With its new Climate Change Roadmap the DoD wants to get ready to face new threats.

By PATRICK LEVY

U.S Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel just published the DoD’s Climate Change Road Map. For the first time, a government acknowledges that climate change will have a significant impact on the country’s security. According to Hagel, climate change is a “threat multiplier” that “exacerbates” security risk in broad ranges of challenges from infectious disease to armed insurgency.

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First, climate change makes military facilities more vulnerable to new threats. This is why the military started to assess the vulnerability of its 7,000 installations worldwide. This is the first step of the roadmap’s first goal which is to assess the potential effects of climate change on department. The second goal is about integrating the effect of climate change into the Department culture and processes. The third goal outlined in this roadmap is about developing collaboration between internal and external stakeholders. This includes other federal, State, local, tribal and international agencies and organizations.

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This collaborative dimension actually goes beyond local stakeholders and organizations. Chuck Hagel’s intention is to develop partnerships with other defense leaders in the Western Hemisphere.

Some of which have already started completing joint assessments on the defense implications of climate change as it is the case in Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, Colombia, and El Salvador.

Some interesting lessons utilities can get from this roadmap are:

1)      That is does actually exist. It is not only a great way to structure the thinking about climate change but also to communicate about the challenges that come with it.

2)      One of this roadmap’s strengths is that aims at triggering cultural changes within the DoD.

3)      It also acknowledges that climate change consequences cannot be tackled in isolation and that cooperation is necessary.

4)      It broadly looks at the impact of climate change, beyond the security that risks are inherent to it.

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U.S utilities have been facing climate change consequences for at least the past ten years with milestone climate change events like Hurricane Katrina. So far, many initiative have been launched but all in isolation. Can the DoD’s comprehensive approach help them do a better job at getting prepared? No doubt, they would benefit a lot from a more proactive and cooperative response.

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