Video On Demand

An Ocean of Change: How Climate Change is Upending our View of Maritime Sustainability, Sovereignty, and Security

October 8, 2019 • 8:45 am – 12:00 pm EDT

The CSIS Stephenson Ocean Security Project invites you to a forum on the relationship between climate stress and maritime security. Two panels and a keynote conversation will discuss the science and security implications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) forthcoming Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. The special report—the third in a series of three from the IPCC­—draws on over 100 scientists to show how climate change is impacting ocean ecosystems and the human communities that depend on them.

A first panel will discuss the physical, ecological and human impacts of climate change on the ocean, which include altered ocean chemistry, dramatically shifting global fisheries, a melting Arctic, reduced ocean productivity and loss of biodiversity. A second panel will explore how those impacts translate into increased security risk around the globe including:

  • Direct physical threats to coastal communities and infrastructure from storms and erosion
  • Direct systemic threats to food supplies and other marine ecosystem services on which coastal communities depend
  • Indirect threats to global institutions, existing norms of ocean governance, and multilateral approaches to resource management

The forum will close with a keynote discussion with Admiral (ret) John M. Richardson, 31st Chief of Naval Operations, examining how the United States can best adapt its security strategy to meet the challenges posed by the changing ocean.



8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. | Check-in and Coffee Networking


9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. | Panel Discussion: Critical Climate Impacts

  • Introductions: Whitley Saumweber, Ph.D., Director, Stephenson Ocean Security Project, CSIS
  • Ko Barrett, Vice Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Deputy Assistant Administrator, NOAA
  • Sir Robert Watson, Ph.D. Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
  • Kathy Mills, Ph.D., Pew Fellow and Scientist, Gulf of Maine Research Institute
  • Paula Bontempi, Ph.D., Deputy Director, NASA Earth Science Division

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. | Coffee Break


10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. | Panel Discussion: Climate Stress and Security – From Impact to Instability

  • Sarah Glaser, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Secure Fisheries, One Earth Future
  • John Mimikakis, Ph.D., Vice President for Oceans, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Heather Conley, Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic; and Director, Europe Program, CSIS
  • Amy Lehr, Director, Human Rights Initiative, CSIS

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. | Keynote Discussion

  • Introduction by John Hamre, Ph.D., President and CEO, CSIS  
  • Admiral (ret) John M. Richardson, 31st Chief of Naval Operations
  • In conversation with Dr. Whitley Saumweber, Director, Stephenson Ocean Security Project


This event is made possible with the generous support of the Philip Stephenson Foundation.

Whitley Saumweber
Director, Stephenson Ocean Security Project, and Senior Associate (Non-Resident), Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative
Amy K. Lehr
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Human Rights Initiative

Heather A. Conley