Climate security represents the physical, economic, or societal impacts associated with climate change that substantially alter political stability, human security, or national security infrastructure. The growing climate crisis poses geopolitical and socioeconomic stressors like population displacement, terrorism, economic stagnation, impacts to infrastructure, and social unrest. PNNL is anticipating the world’s changing climate by modeling energy futures and translating climate science into decisions that integrate security, sustainability, and resilience.
PNNL brings together fundamental observations with computational analysis, scalable models, and technical expertise to protect national security by enhancing the resilience of ecosystems, economies, societies, and critical infrastructure impacted by climate instability.
Through global relationships combining deep climate and national security expertise, PNNL is leading international institutions that translate climate change impacts into implementation plans that bolster climate security. Partnerships like the Joint Global Change Research Institute with the University of Maryland are connecting integrated human-Earth system models with our applied national security analysis to deliver:
- Climate strategies that integrate societal stability to predict climate change risks across time and spatial scales
- Impact modeling and analysis to assess vulnerabilities and resilience and define inter-dependent risks
- Analysis of technology, policy, and institutional implementation scenarios that build countries’ climate security capacity and inform the policy and decision-making processes
- Cost, benefit, and risk analysis of energy transitions and security implications at national and global scales
- International capacity building in both environmental and national security domains.
We integrate human and Earth systems and grid modeling and simulation tools to translate science to support decisions and anticipate significant impacts of climate change—such as hurricanes, heat waves, and other extreme weather events—at local, regional, and global scales. This allows us to model potential power system disruptions, shifting customer and societal expectations, and rapid technological evolution to understand impacts to national security. Models such as the Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM) explore the dynamics of human-Earth systems and their response to global changes. GCAM scenarios were used to develop the “Long-Term Strategy of the United States: Pathways to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050” published by the White House in 2021.
Together, our modeling, computing and analytics, and even artificial intelligence capabilities, are aiding in predicting events, economics, and impacts on ecosystems and infrastructure, exploring nonproliferation implications in the future of nuclear power, and understanding vulnerabilities around decarbonization and energy transitions from molecular to global scales.
Ready to learn more?
Visit the PNNL Climate Research Portal for direct access to PNNL's cutting-edge climate science research, including datasets, models, and publications. Our research spans fundamental scientific breakthroughs to practical applications, aimed at understanding climate risks and enhancing resilience across various interconnected sectors, including energy, water, and agriculture.