On September 29th, 2016, in collaboration with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, we presented a conversation with retired Rear Admiral David Titley entitled Climate Change: A National Security Issue. Focusing on the effect of changes in sea currents, navigation channels and Arctic ice flows, Admiral Titley described his scientific journey from climate skepticism to declaring climate change one of the driving forces of the 21st century, and highlighted the ways in which climate change poses a collective challenge to American armed forces and intelligence agencies.

Admiral Titley began his talk by laying out the framework of evidence that lead him to understand and study climate change, including global temperature trends and examinations of Artic sea ice. Admiral Titley argued that climate change is about water, people, and change, and specifically focused on the future challenges that changes in Artic sea ice and sea levels will bring to trade routes, global security, and existing infrastructure. These changes require new considerations, readiness, and operation planning for the military Titley argued, and introduce increased levels of risk and instability into the geopolitical landscape that have strong and potentially destructive ramifications.

Retired Rear Admiral David Titley is a nationally known expert in the field of climate, the Arctic, and National Security. Following a 32-year career during which he served as the Navy’s chief oceanographer, Admiral Titley joined Penn State University as Professor of Practice in Meteorology and founding director of its Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk. He also is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for New American Security.