Category Archives: Climate Change

Jackson Fellows Benefit from Jackson/Phillips Fund

In recognition of Larry Phillips’ leadership on growth management, natural resource protection, water quality, transportation, and climate change, the Foundation created the Jackson Leadership Fellows – Larry Phillips Fund for Climate Change and the Environment. The fund supports Henry M. Jackson Leadership Fellows with an interest in fostering bipartisan solutions in the fields of climate change and the environment, reflecting issues of significance that defined Larry Phillip’s career in public service.  We’re pleased that we can further support the goals and objectives of the Jackson Fellows through this fund tied to climate and the environment.

Last year we awarded funds to two of our Jackson Leadership Fellows, Laura Stewart and Tamara Power-Drutis.  As part of her project, Laura developed a video that captured the issues and interests of under-represented voices in Seattle’s climate and environmental justice sector. Building on the video’s success, Tamara (Crosscut Media) and Laura will use the funds to broaden the video’s audience utilizing Crosscut Media’s 1.2 million readers, KCTS 9 broadcasting, and ethnic media partners in a series of follow-up interviews and articles.

Alex Adams

This year we’ll provide funds to three of our 2017 Fellows – Alex Adams, Connor Birkeland, and Amarpreet Sethi.  Alex received $500 to attend the Green Transportation Summit and Expo (GTSE), which is the region’s premier fleet modernization and alternative fuels event.  This conference’s focus on alternative fuels and wide variety of vehicle types will help expand his knowledge and understanding of the quickly changing electric vehicle and fuel markets in the Pacific Northwest.  From attending last year’s conference, he was able to develop an alternative fuel calculator to show emissions resulting from fuel choices, which led King County Metro Transit to transition to 5% locally sourced biodiesel.

A $500 award to Connor will support his travel to California to learn about clean energy financing models tied to property there and apply them  in Washington State. His Jackson Leadership Fellows’ project focuses on Property Assessed Clean Energy as a financing model for low- to medium-income individuals. Currently Washington State lacks renewable-energy financing programs for those with lower incomes, despite the fact that installing residential renewable energy systems would allow for less-costly energy bills.

 

Amarpreet Sethi

Amarpreet received $500 to attend a conference organized by the German Chamber of Commerce that relates to her project, which looks at buildings that are developed with the health and well-being of their occupants in mind.   Amarpreet is researching European examples and will showcase practical ways to develop top-performing buildings in the U.S. that meet a higher standard of health and well-being for the users. The purpose of the research is to inspire developers to think differently, to begin setting higher goals and values for energy performance, and to consider the impact the building has on the user’s health.

Our Fellows are making connections in their communities, in other states and regions, and even internationally to help them do their work — and improve our society.  The Fellows program is designed to support them — through mentorship, networking, training, and by providing additional opportunities to dig into their areas of interest.  We believe that the Jackson/Phillips Fund is one important way of enhancing the Fellows’ experience.  Learn more about the Jackson Fellows and the Jackson Fellows/Phillips Fund.

 

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

 

Security & Climate Change: A West Coast Perspective

I recently had an opportunity to participate in a one-day symposium put on by The Center for Climate and Security, The San Diego Foundation, and the Skoll Global Threats Fund.  The goal of the session was to raise awareness and build a community of practice around climate security issues as they affect the West Coast, with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific.  This was interesting for me as the Foundation has convened similar gatherings of experts and public officials here in Puget Sound, which shares with San Diego a strong military presence, an awareness of the closeness of Asia, and an enduring commitment to the environment and climate.  The Jackson Foundation has been working to highlight the voices of our nation’s military – which recognizes that its mission is threatened by a climate changed future – in the ongoing discussions at the political level about climate risks regionally and globally.

This forum also featured high-profile military experts such as General Ron Keys (USAF-Ret) , Rear Admiral Yancy B. Lindsey (Commander, Navy Region Southwest), Rear Admiral Leendert Hering Sr. (USN-Ret) and others who spoke to the importance of managing climate change risk for U.S. national security.  “We are mission driven,” in General Keys words.  “The military needs to respond to the known and likely risks we face.”  The climate concerns have a tremendous capacity to impact our nation’s national security, from contributing to sea level rise at U.S. military installations, to threatening food and water security at home and abroad, to displacing populations in harm’s way from extreme climate events.

In a panel that I moderated, we were joined by Congressman Scott Peters, U.S. House of Representatives 52nd Congressional District, who emphasized that he believes that concern for climate is a bipartisan issue and should be one where consensus can be reached for the good of the nation.  He also underlined the impact on his own district of climate issues happening now as well as in the years ahead.  “For San Diego, climate issues are real and are impacting us today.  We can’t afford to be complacent,” Congressman Peters said.  He is working closely with regional leaders, including Kevin Faulconer, the Mayor of San Diego, who opened the forum.

The value of sessions such as these – be they in San Diego, Washington, DC or Seattle – is that they have the power and leverage to inform a broad audience of political leaders, community nonprofits, government agencies and military personnel  on the need to address strategic climate risks at a regional as well as a national level.  They also get at the very real challenges facing the U.S. military at our Pacific-facing military installations and communities up and down the West Coast.

The Jackson Foundation plans to continue these discussions in order to highlight climate and national security ties with an eye to helping shape federal, regional and local responses to climate risk and resilience opportunities in the decade ahead. Senator Jackson was prescient in his time in foreseeing security challenges to the U.S. that encompassed energy and environmental concerns.  This work continues squarely in that vein, in that it represents the best of the Jackson tradition of being in the vanguard on critical environmental and national security policy.

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

Water: The Front Line of Climate Change

We’ve been busy this fall, with events on both coasts touching on issues from civil liberties, national security and terrorism (with the Kennan Institute); to the global migration crises and human rights, and its impact both in Washington State and internationally (a Jackson School conference); to “Water and Security in an Uncertain World” with the Wilson Center in Washington, DC.

I’ll focus in on one of these provocative sessions today.  In the packed half-day, public and private event on water security on the East Coast in October, the Jackson Foundation joined with the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program to address what Foundation President John Hempelmann termed “the close intersection of climate change, national security, and water.”  Sherri Goodman, former Deputy Undersecretary for Defense and a current Wilson Center Public Policy Fellow, concurred and called water “the front line of climate change.”

The two sessions assessed the risks to water security globally and explored responses to both ongoing problems and short-term water crises.  Lieutenant General Jeffrey Tailey (ret) lamented that “many people are indifferent to water security, which often takes a crisis to make us respond adequately.”  When asked how to generate both interest and policy progress to ensure greater action on water security and water rights, Christian Holmes, Global Water Coordinator, U.S. Agency for International Development, talked of generating a long-term strategy:  “You need to tell a story to engage people.  We haven’t been delivering a narrative.”  This approach could also help interest a U.S. President or Congress in taking more decisive action.

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Roger-Mark de Souza, Ken Conca, and Sherri Goodman speaking on Panel I: Risks and Responses

Foundation Vice President Craig Gannett noted in remarks seconded by many that the U.S. has historically – even in Senator Jackson’s day – not done well in water management in its own backyard.  “We are not a great model for the world,” he cautioned, even as this program focused primarily on international water concerns in regions such as South East Asia, Africa and the Middle East – and often on America’s leading role in the water management field abroad.

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Craig Gannett, Foundation Vice President

Ken Conca, American University Professor, raised the need to extend robust human rights protection to people advocating for water rights:  “Water is one of the real fulcrums for multiple goals – rights and democracy,” he stressed.  Sherri Goodman highlighted the reverse side of the importance of water: “Water can be a source of strategic instability,” exacerbating international conflicts and worsening human rights violations globally.

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Klomjit Chandrapanya, Doris Kaberia, and Sandra Ruckstuhl speaking on Panel II: Water Spillovers: Regional and Sectorial Effects

Roger-Mark de Souza, director of the Environmental Change and Security Program at Wilson, in closing the session, sought to pull together the threads of policy suggestions from the discussion.  He reiterated that major national reports, including the September 2016 Presidential Memo on Climate and Security, as well as the World Bank 2016 Climate Change Action plan, had raised to the highest policy levels the links between climate, security and water.  It is through gatherings such as this that water, climate, and national security will continue to be assessed and pushed forward to the front burner of the policy world.

We’re excited that our programming is diverse, and this program on water, climate and security concerns keeps us focused on critical policy issues that matter to the Jackson Foundation.

Lara Iglitzin

Executive Director

 

Jackson Fellow promotes key Jackson legislative legacy

Andrew Lewis Andrew Lewis, one of the 2016 Jackson Leadership Fellows, chose for his project to analyze and write about an important Jackson achievement – the Land and Water Conservation Fund – addressing both its significance and its future funding and standing in Congress. As a recent graduate from the UC Berkeley School of Law, Andrew felt naturally drawn to legislation close to the heart of the Jackson legacy. Andrew has always been heavily involved in Washington State politics – starting at the early age of 14 as an intern in Washington State Senator Patty Murray’s re-election in 1994! His legal interests include environmental law, so he was attracted to the battle over the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s future. Senator Jackson introduced the original Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act at President John F. Kennedy’s request. For over 50 years, the Fund has contributed resources to parks, wild spaces, recreation areas, and the natural heritage of our country. A small portion of oil and gas royalties funds the LWCF, as Jackson intended it to do, making the funding source smart economic and environmental policy.

Andrew’s paper, published in the Ecology Law Quarterly in spring 2016, explains the history of the LWCF and its purposes, namely “to preserve, develop and assure accessibility to outdoor recreation resources for the American people.” To do this, Congress authorized a $900 million annual appropriation to fund the LWCF. Historically, however, while the Fund has received resources, it has never received the full amount intended by the legislation. Andrew shows the LWCF’s success in driving conservation and economic growth despite its dwindling funding from Congress over the years.

Most important, Andrew describes the current state of the LWCF as “tenuous.” Congress gave the Fund a temporary, three-year extension and an appropriation of $450 million. Foundation President John Hempelmann mentored Andrew and provided him with careful editing as well as a big-picture political perspective on the legislation. Both John and Andrew expressed relief that the Fund’s life has been extended, but they are concerned about its future.  Andrew outlines options currently under discussion in Congress – led by Washington State leaders – that would provide permanent funding for the LWCF.

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John Hempelmann, Foundation President, with Brett Phillips and Andrew Lewis

The paper does an excellent job of clearly assessing the past and future prospects of this important piece of Jackson’s environmental legacy, and the protection of our nation’s natural resources. Bravo to Andrew for his excellent piece and for landing an article in a prestigious law journal – all while finishing law school.

 

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

“If we want justice, everyone’s voice needs to be heard.” Why Climate Equity Matters

I had the privilege this week of attending the first screening of a remarkable film made by two young people, Laura Stewart and Julian Kane.  Laura is one of our Jackson Leadership Fellows, and the film was her project for the Fellowship.  Julian is a graduate student at Antioch University.  The film, “Our Story:  Climate Justice and Environmental Justice,” showcased over twenty people from our community here in Puget Sound, voices that are not often heard in the debate and discourse on climate and the environment.  Laura’s intent in creating the film was to bring to the front of the table those communities disproportionately impacted by climate.  She interviewed leaders and activists at environmental, labor, and educational organizations who collectively raised the climate justice flag and conveyed a deep sense of urgency.  Laura and Julian were both brimming with enthusiasm and pride – as they should be – for the film that they created, for the stories they illuminated, for the discussion that their work engendered.  “We are two young people of color, and we just did it,” Laura proclaimed.

Laura Stewart, Roger-Mark De Souza, & Lara Iglitzin
Laura Stewart, Jackson Leadership Fellow,  Roger-Mark De Souza, Wilson Center, and Lara Iglitzin

The film is inspiring, in part because it is made by and gives a megaphone to many young people, often people of color, finding allies in their efforts to save the planet from climate warming.  It is also a call to action for all of us who want to see communities of color empowered.  Short interviews in the film include Running Grass, from the Three Circles Center, Jourdan Imani Keith, from the Urban Wilderness Project, Aiko Schaefer with Front and Centered (Communities of Color for Climate Justice), and Sudha Nandagopal, from the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment.

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Roger-Mark De Souza, an expert on democracy, environmental security, climate and international development, and a frequent Jackson Foundation partner through his role at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., moderated a lively and thoughtful discussion with those present.  “What side of history do you want to be on?” one of the participants asked the film audience.  “We have an obligation to chart a cleaner future” for ourselves and our children, another argued.  The film also stimulated a broader dialogue about privilege, elites, and diversity.  Audience members felt the film should be seen widely, and Laura agrees.  She is urging people to share it on social media and take ownership of it so it can be viewed as much as possible.  There is also talk of a lesson plan, as early viewers felt that the film speaks in an accessible manner for young students.

We are proud of our Jackson Fellow Laura Stewart – she has made a film that will get people talking, and acting, on climate justice.  Congratulations!

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

China’s Energy Crossroads

Earlier this week, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and the National Bureau of Asian Research launched NBR’s 2014 Energy Security Report at an event entitled “China’s Energy Crossroads:  Forging a New Energy and Environmental Balance.”  The event in Washington, DC, attracted a large, diverse, policy-oriented crowd with a particular interest in Asia-Pacific affairs and China’s growing energy demands.

Admiral Blair and John Hempelmann
Admiral Dennis C.  Blair and John Hempelmann, Foundation President

Admiral Dennis C. Blair, former United States Director of National Intelligence and member of NBR’s Board of Directors, started the day with a note of optimism on a few fronts:  one, the recent joint announcement by the U.S. and Chinese government outlining steps each country will take to reduce carbon emissions and the warming of the global climate.  This “bright spot” in U.S.-China relations, as another speaker referred to it, will provide leadership to other major countries on climate change politics.  He also emphasized that the Chinese middle class, increasingly vocal and unhappy about air and water pollution in China, is being heard by Chinese political elites and is contributing to a sense of urgency about the need to act on China’s environmental challenges.

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Panel on China’s Energy Policy and Its Impact on U.S. – China Relations

I was struck at the event by the monumental nature of the challenge that China faces today, and the truth in the title – a crossroads – and its implications not just for China, but for the world.  China no longer has the luxury – to the extent that it had it at all – of focusing primarily on growth without regard to environmental consequences.  It must face the results of its laser-like intensity to grow the economy.  The good news is that China’s political elites are well aware of this now.  The more difficult part is figuring out how to deal effectively with all the myriad problems this poses:  to the healthcare system, to China’s regional partners and global allies and rivals, to domestic political concerns within China, to its military and strategic thinking as it seeks to reinforce its current energy resources and explore new avenues beyond fossil fuels.  China’s energy demands continue to be a driver of both foreign and domestic policies and a spur to innovate.  Its decisions will impact America, other regional powers in Asia, and beyond.

Mikkal E. Herberg and Li Bin
Mikkal E. Herberg, NBR and Li Zhidong, Nagaoka University of Technology

NBR’s 2014 Energy Security Report discusses these interconnected concerns in a series of highly readable, policy-oriented briefs intended to inform policymakers, energy specialists and Asia-watchers.  Free copies of the report are available here.

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

 

Climate Change and International Security: What are the implications for policymakers?

The Jackson Foundation and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) had a closed-door symposium that focused attention on the intersection of national security and climate change and how to better prepare decision-makers to act.  The extraordinary gathering of high caliber individuals representing federal, State and local government – including the U.S. military – as well as businesses, NGOs and academia, convened to highlight the urgency of climate change and its impact on our country’s national security.

Alice Hill, White House Senior Advisor, and Mike Kluse, director of PNNL
White House Sr. Advisor, Alice Hill & Mike Kluse, Director of PNNL

Why this topic?  For starters, Senator Jackson was an early voice raising concerns about our nation’s energy resources and national security.  His environmental legacy included a sweeping view of what it meant to manage environmental resources wisely, and he also had vision and perspective that encompassed changing global trends in energy use as well as security needs.  That perspective is lacking today in Washington, DC.  The Foundation and PNNL sought to underscore the interconnectedness of global climate changes and security threats such as reduced water resources, population migration, extreme weather events, political instability due to diminished food resources, and the like.  The U.S. military has this first and foremost on its radar, as was evidenced by the top-level representatives at the symposium.

Rep. Adam Smith and Hon. Norm Dicks
Rep. Adam Smith and Hon. Norm Dicks

The White House has taken a public stand and is trying to light a fire on this issue nationally.  Alice Hill, White House Senior Advisor for Preparedness and Resilience, pressed the point:  “The workshop participants emphasized the urgency of addressing climate change and its impacts on our country’s national security and determined that it is critical to take immediate action.”  The Foundation and PNNL intend to pursue this issue and ensure that it remains front and center before policymakers in Congress as well as state and local governments.

King County Council Chair Larry Phillips
King County Council Chair Larry Phillips

As Congressman Adam Smith said, “We can’t separate this out and say climate change is an energy problem and not a national security problem.”  Larry Phillips, Foundation Board member and Chair of the King County Council, has been a leader in thinking strategically about climate impacts in the greater Seattle region.  He concluded:  “We have a duty to lead on threats from climate change that are making us vulnerable now.”

Craig Gannett, Jackson Foundation Vice President
Craig Gannett, Jackson Foundation Vice Pres., at press briefing

The Jackson Foundation and PNNL sponsored a press and public briefing the day after the symposium on June 5.  Watch the event here.

We are holding a Washington, DC briefing on July 29 at the Woodrow Wilson Center to further highlight the national security threats posed by climate changes today as well as tomorrow.  Look for more information coming on that event soon.

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director