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Climate Change and the Concept of Environmental Security under the Obama administration

Climate Change and the Concept of Environmental Security under the Obama administration

5 March 2009

Sherri-GoodmanAt an Ecologic Dinner Dialogue on 5 March 2009, Sherri Goodman spoke about the current developments in the concept of environmental security under the new Obama administration. Sherri Goodman - now chief counsel for the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), a military think tank, served as Deputy under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security under President Clinton. Sherri Goodman put a clear focus on the development of new and energy friendly technologies as well as on more energy efficiency in order to prevent international security threats.

In her opening remarks, Sherri Goodman summarized the emergence, retraction and comeback of the issue of Environmental Security in the US and expressed her hopes regarding the Obama administration’s attitude concerning environmental issues in the face of climate change. She considers actions on climate issues “a more natural act” for President Obama, and therefore sees that the current steps being taken could be the dawn of a new green energy revolution. However, the decision making process in the US will present a big challenge for the new administration in putting its ideas into practice.

While Sherri Goodman stated that the current government showed more willingness to adapt the regulatory framework, she also indicated that environmental issues in the US are best conveyed in the context of energy and technology issues. “Americans believe in technology and innovation” and are “just starting out” regarding investments in greater energy efficiency. In her opinion, energy efficiency would be “the fruit to pick for the next 5 years” while learning from Europe’s experience.  In this context, Sherri Goodman is hoping for the US to be a better international partner than it had been in the last 8 years. 

Current issues with immediate effects, like the financial crisis, are again taking away attention from environmental concerns and the readiness to act. This is why Sherri Goodman also sees value in having military leaders worldwide speak with a collective voice to raise the world’s attention to security threats due to climate change effects. Yet it could not be an only American task to initiate this.

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Sherri Goodman
5 March 2009
Berlin, Germany