Climate Change Security Risks and Opportunities

About the Commission on Accelerating Climate Action

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Commission on Accelerating Climate Action

The Commission on Accelerating Climate Action was formed in 2021 by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, reflecting a significant long-term commitment by its Board of Directors to address the challenges of climate change. The Commission’s work answers two core questions: 1) What policies would most effectively and equitably remove barriers to climate action? 2) How can the United States accelerate climate mitigation and adaptation strategies for all Americans? While the science of climate change is well-established, the Commission aims to leverage its diverse composition to identify strategies for building a durable and inclusive political coalition for climate action. In the first phase of the project, the Commission assessed the national landscape on climate action by interviewing seventy experts across three domains: communication, the private sector, and human and national security. Summaries of the findings from all areas are accessible on the Academy’s website. These documents form the basis for innovative recommendations for climate action across sectors and ideologies.

The Commission on Accelerating Climate Action is made possible through the generous support of Roger Sant and Doris Matsui, Hansjörg Wyss, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, the David and Ellen Lee Family Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and an endowment provided by John E. Bryson and Louise Henry Bryson.

We are grateful to Academy staff Carson Bullock, Kate Carter, Sophia Charan, Leo Curran, Tania Munz, Islam Qasem, Kelsey Schuch, and Jen Smith for their work on this publication. We are also indebted to listening session participants Anne Castle (University of Colorado Law School), Heather Tansey (Cargill), John Conger (International Military Council on Climate and Security), Kathleen Ritzman (Scripps Research Institute), Margaret Leinen (Scripps Research Institute), Tom Keirnan (American Rivers), Matthew Rice (American Rivers), Tom Iseman (TNC), Colby Pellegrino (Las Vegas Valley Water District), Bidtah Becker (California’s Environmental Protection Agency), Robert Twilley (Louisiana Sea Grant), David Muth (Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve), Don Boesch (University System of Maryland), Bre’Anna Brooks (Walton Family Foundation), Ronald Piret (U.S. Navy), Karen Ross (California Department of Food and Agriculture), Austin Becker (University of Rhode Island), and Ari Swiller (Renewable Resources Group) for their contributions and insight.


Mustafa Santiago Ali
National Wildlife Federation; Revitalization Strategies

Christopher Field
Stanford University

David G. Victor
University of California, San Diego

Patricia Vincent-Collawn
PNM Resources, Inc.

Commission Members

Benjamin Backer
American Conservation Coalition

Phyllis L. Bayer*
Dumbarton Strategies, LLC

Mitchell Bernard
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

Philip Bredesen
State of Tennessee

Patricia Cochran*
Alaska Native Science Commission

Ertharin Cousin*
Food Systems for the Future

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar*
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Leanne Kealoha Fox
Institute for Climate & Peace

Tim Guinee
Climate Actors

Rebecca Henderson
Harvard University

Mitchell C. Hescox
Evangelical Environmental Network

Charles O. Holliday, Jr.
Bank of America

Russel L. Honoré*
Joint Task Force Katrina, Leadership, Safety & Global Preparedness Authority

Bob Inglis

Kathleen Hall Jamieson
University of Pennsylvania

Alexander Karsner
X (Alphabet Inc.)

Elizabeth Kolbert
The New Yorker

John Paul Mejia
Sunrise Movement

Katherine Orff*

David W. Oxtoby
American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Gary Roughead**
Hoover Institution

Linda Rudolph*
Public Health Institute

Roger Sant
The Summit Foundation

J. Marshall Shepherd
University of Georgia

Doreen Stabinsky*
College of the Atlantic

Hilary Tompkins**
Hogan Lovells

Elke Weber
Princeton University


* Human and National Security Working Group Member

** Human and National Security Working Group Cochair