It’s often hard to know how much of a difference an organization like the Jackson Foundation is making on solving big problems, such as climate change. So here’s an example that sheds some light.
The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis recently issued a major report that serves as the House Democrats’ roadmap for climate legislation next year if there is a new administration and the Democrats take the majority in the Senate. We are happy to share that the chapter on climate and national security is based on a report produced by our partner, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS). This report, A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change, was presented at a conference in Washington, D.C. in February.
The Foundation’s role in this area goes back eight years, to when Board Member Larry Phillips first urged us to take a leadership role regarding the intersection between climate change and national security. Since then, the Foundation has become known as a leading NGO in this space. That led to my attendance at an Aspen Institute conference on climate and national security in the summer of 2018. That forum, in turn, led the CCS to undertake its threat assessment report, which was intended to raise the profile of climate and security as a policy issue worthy of discussion in the presidential campaign. The Foundation provided major funding for the report as well as substantive input during the drafting process, and I spoke at the packed rollout conference in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Furthermore, the recommendations within the national security chapter of the report draw heavily from CCS’ Climate Security Plan for America, which the Foundation also supported.
This all goes to show that the Foundation and our partners need to take the long view when assessing the impact of our work. Big changes in any field of public policy take years, and the connection between our efforts and the ultimate outcome may be hard to trace. In this case, we don’t yet know whether Congress will take decisive action on climate change next year. But we do know that, together, we helped raise the profile of that issue at a time when positive change is possible. I think that counts as making a difference.