The emerging threat of climate change to our national security
From as early as 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense flagged the increased risk to national security if climate change wasn’t urgently addressed by the federal government.
“We judge global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the next 20 years,” wrote the National Intelligence Committee during President George W. Bush’s tenure. The political will to take action to address climate change as a national security issue is slowly growing. Recently the U.S. Army released its first ever climate strategy, outlining its goals to cut emissions in half by 2030, produce electric combat vehicles, and advance officer training for a warmer climate.
At Primer, we build AI technology that helps subject matter experts and decision-makers identify, understand, and act on emerging threats. We believe that the intersection between climate change and national security is imperative to proactively address.
Our partnership with OneEarth.org
On the cusp of Climate Week in New York starting Sept. 19, Primer is proud to announce our partnership with OneEarth.org, and the public release of the Climate Finance Tracker that we worked on together this year. Leveraging Primer’s machine learning technology on publicly available data, the tracker “follows the money,” surfacing in one unified view, where U.S. private funding for combating climate change is going. In short, following the money helps everyone collaborate more effectively to tackle the climate crisis.
For the first time, the Climate Finance Tracker is live and open-source, and uses AI to advance intelligence and decision cycles, to ultimately improve outcomes on solving a major global challenge.
The Climate Finance Tracker allows anyone to search the funding landscape of all private companies and nonprofits in the U.S. that are addressing climate-related topics. By surfacing topics from organization and project descriptions provided by Crunchbase and Candid, the tracker allows us to better understand the shape of the current response, and with that, its potential gaps. This understanding means funders can better direct their resources, ensuring the highest possible impact of their investment.
The value of following the funding
Eric Berlow, a leading social impact data scientist and researcher, led the project with his nonprofit Vibrant Data Labs and OneEarth.org. Berlow explained how using Primer’s AI technology allows researchers to find the answer to questions they may not even know to ask.
“We searched for companies working on known climate-related topics, and then the machine pulled out of their language that some also mention national security-related topics,” Berlow explained. “That’s novel. I wouldn’t have even known to look… And the machine found it.”
Text-based machine learning doesn’t just uncover answers – it also helps surface questions researchers may not even know to ask.
“We know climate intersects with national security, and now we can easily see about 25 private investors funding companies in that space,” Berlow explained. “It’s only 6 companies out of 6,000. That’s an important gap. Let’s talk to them and see what’s going on.”
Climate week begins
With this week’s launch of the Climate Finance Tracker, along with Climate Week in New York, we expect to see increased conversation around adoption of machine learning solutions to help solve global problems such as the climate crisis, making us more resilient toward emerging threats.
At Primer, we believe that when we empower the ecosystem with better information, intelligence, and decision making, we can truly solve really complex problems together.