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Course Overview

This course provides an overview of the major climate change threats impacting our world, with a particular focus on climate change impacts to national and regional security, public health, and energy systems. The course includes an overview of relevant science, legal, and policy issues related to climate change and concludes with a discussion of how homeland security leaders should be preparing to address these challenges.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the major climate change threats and their impact on national security, public health, and energy systems Explain how climate change impacts their respective jurisdictions and disciplines 
  • Apply their knowledge to take demonstrable steps to interact with experts in their local jurisdictions to help respond to climate change threats through, for example, mitigation, adaptation, coordination, and planning 

In the CHDS Climate Change self-study course, we acknowledge the dynamic nature of our planet’s climate and therefore the dynamic nature of the content. The accuracy of the course content is subject to information available at the time of recording.

About the Instructors

Kristen Fletcher  

Kristen Fletcher is Faculty Associate-Research in the Energy Academic Group at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and leads the NPS Climate and Security Network. Fletcher has over 20 years of experience in environmental, ocean and coastal law and policy. Her two lines of effort at NPS are climate change and national security and law and policy related to autonomous systems and artificial intelligence.

Fletcher’s expertise includes law and policy analysis, research and outreach including coastal management, climate change adaptation, and coastal and marine renewable energy. Fletcher has served as Executive Director of two nonprofits including the Coastal States Organization from 2007-2012 which represents the governors of the nation’s 35 coastal states and territories on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes issues. Previously, Fletcher directed the Marine Affairs Institute and Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program at Roger Williams University School of Law (RWU) where she advised university researchers, federal and state agencies, and other Sea Grant constituents on ocean and coastal law issues and directed research and outreach projects. While at RWU, she taught Ocean and Coastal Law, Natural Resources Law, and Fisheries Law. She also directed the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program and was founding director of the National Sea Grant Law Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Fletcher’s publications include law journal articles, book chapters and legal reports. She authored an amicus brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and contributed to an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court on ocean and coastal management issues. She has testified to Congress on appropriations priorities and actions needed in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Presentation venues include U.S. House and Senate briefings, OCEANS conferences, UNESCO Marine Conference, the American Bar Association, and the National Academy of Sciences. Fletcher has a Master of Laws in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark Law School, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from Auburn University.

Tom Murphree

Dr. Tom Murphree is an emeritus research professor in the Dept. of Meteorology at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California, USA. His research focuses on climate dynamics, and the analysis and prediction of climate variations and climate change. Much of his research centers on developing and transitioning to operational use systems for predicting extreme climate events (for example, extremes in temperature, precipitation, winds, ocean waves, and tropical cyclone activity).

Tom has been the principal investigator for numerous climate research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Naval Research, and other sponsors. ​

Tom also works with a range of organizations to help them understand and address the impacts of human driven climate change.

Tom did his undergraduate and graduate studies in Earth sciences at the University of California, including geology and atmospheric science at UC Davis, and oceanography and climate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He has a BS in geology and a PhD in atmospheric sciences from the University of California Davis.​

His memberships include The American Meteorological Society Commission on the Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise; The Committee for Federal Climate Services; The American Geophysical Union; and The Oceanography Society.​

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