Climate, Clean Energy, and National Security

Establish a strategic overlay that accelerates and amplifies the impacts of climate and clean energy R&D on challenges in national security.

For decades, LANL has applied its unique capabilities to elucidate the behavior of our climate system and to explore transformational options for our energy future. Conducting innovative research in support of the DOE’s programs in these areas remains a Laboratory priority, as does extending this research into new areas important to national security, including understanding the potential implications of the concurrent evolution of the climate and the transition of energy technologies over the coming decades. In addition, we are leveraging LANL’s unique capabilities to transition our own energy portfolio to one that is both carbon neutral and reliable.

 This Critical Outcome focuses on ensuring a strong portfolio in climate and clean energy into the future by (1) promoting integration across the climate and energy research communities with an emphasis on the regional scale, (2) strengthening the ties between these portfolios and LANL’s broad national security mission, and (3) utilizing the Laboratory as a testbed to accelerate the development of innovative technologies to transition LANL’s energy mix to accomplish our mission while providing new options for the Nation.

This Critical Outcome supports three of the Strategic Objectives in accomplishing the Laboratory mission: Trustworthy Operations, Technical Leadership, and Trustworthy Operations. This Critical Outcome also leverages the Signature Institutional Commitment in AI.

In FY23, we made strategic investments in facilities, including the Low Enriched Fuel Fabrication Facility and the Algae Test Lab (the latter of which has already garnered new external funding); coordinated across line and program offices to support our initiative in Climate Impacts to National Security; improved coordination and communication of climate and clean energy across multiple LANL organizations through biweekly roundtables; and developed strategic partnerships in climate and clean energy.

In FY24, we will build on these successes through six Supporting Initiatives, with a specific emphasis on exploring the intersection between climate, energy, and national security.

Supporting Initiatives

  1. Produce a climate, clean energy, and national security strategy for the Laboratory that will be informed by a strategic review.
  2. Develop and demonstrate a first-generation capability with higher-fidelity models and workflows to forecast regional-scale climate impacts more accurately and quickly with decadal resolution. By 2026, develop the ability to link to economic and human behavior models to predict human consequences of climate impacts more fully, including national security-relevant human migration and transboundary conflicts.
  3. Demonstrate leadership and develop partnerships in the multidisciplinary experimentally informed modeling necessary to inform public and private actions related to mitigation and adaptation to both the evolving climate and the energy transformation. By 2026, ensure that the systems model (e.g., energy-water-food nexus) has sufficient resolution to identify unintended consequences of climate and energy transitions and to provide feedback to guide measurement, monitoring, and experimental verification of climate actions.
  4. Accelerate, with strategic partners, the development, demonstration, and deployment of innovative technologies to mitigate climate change, address the impacts of climate change, and enable monitoring and verification of international norms and agreements related to climate change. By 2025, demonstrate success in place-based engagement to enable energy transition and climate resilience and adaptation.
  5. Develop a framework for enabling successful diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility implementation in climate, clean energy, and national security projects, with a focus on DOE-funded projects. Establish a program plan for STEM education and outreach initiatives.
  6. Be a leader within the NNSA in achieving climate mitigation goals. By 2025, leverage LANL’s energy infrastructure to establish a suite of testbeds for low-carbon solutions that allow for the testing and demonstration of innovative technologies.

primary Strategic Objective

Technical Leadership - Deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs to advance relevant research frontiers and anticipate emerging national security risks.

secondary Strategic Objectives

Trustworthy Operations - Consistently demonstrate and be recognized by diverse stakeholders for trusted and trustworthy operations.

Threat Reduction - Anticipate persistent and emerging threats to global security; develop and deploy revolutionary tools to detect, deter, and respond proactively.