Climate Change and Global Security

Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney, CEO, American Security Project; Dr. Elisabeth Moyer, Associate Professor, Department of Geophysical Science, University of Chicago. In conversation with Karen Weigert.

Climate Change and Global Security

In 2006, Syria suffered its worst drought in 900 years which experts cited as a contributing factor to the social unrest and riots preceding the current civil war. Global “hot spots” - where tensions are high due to overpopulation, resource scarcity, weak governance, underdevelopment, and other causes - are especially susceptible to the destabilizing effects changes in climate can prompt. Manmade or not, governments, militaries, and corporations are taking climate change into account when developing operational strategies – and predicting future needs. What countries are most at risk for climate-induced destabilization and what will that mean for geopolitical alliances? 

Speaker Bio



5:30 p.m.       
Registration and cash bar reception

6:00 p.m.       
Presentation and Q&A

7:15 p.m.        

Mic Check

Mic Check with Stephen Cheney

Stephen Cheney, a retired brigadier general in the US Marine Corps and CEO of the American Security Project, believes climate change is what the military calls a “threat multiplier” that complicates existing security risks, increasing the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions. Before he joins us on our stage on February 9, we asked:

What is the best book/essay/article about global issues or foreign policy you’ve read this year?

The Richard Haass (Council on Foreign Relations President) Foreign Affairs article “World Order 2.0,” which is basically an excerpt from his new book A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order – both are worth a read! Full disclosure, I was a military fellow at CFR from ’93 to ’94, and have been a member ever since…

Who would you most want to debate on stage/over dinner/on a panel/via Twitter?

I’m not a big Twitter user, but if asking, I’d like to take on President Duterte of the Philippines.

What is one thing our audience might find surprising about you?

I am not related to former SecDef and VP Dick Cheney….but, was his deputy executive secretary from ’91 to ’93 in the Pentagon, and had the same job for Sec Def Aspin for six months in ’93…it was an eye-opener for me.

What one piece of advice would you offer to those interested in a career in global affairs or your field?

If you are interested in global affairs, this is certainly a target rich environment.  Get a related Master’s Degree (or Doctorate), come to DC, and work for a think tank (or do an internship) related to foreign affairs.