The climate change and security discourse received a big boost yesterday with the release of three new reports and resources.
The Center for American Progress released a new report titled “Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict in Northwest Africa: Rising Dangers and Policy Options Across the Arc of Tension” by Michael Werz and Laura Conley. The report looks at a complex web of security challenges in Northwest Africa, beyond the oft-mentioned topic of Al Qaeda’s presence in the region, including how climate change impacts such as rising sea levels, desertification and drought can act as an additional stressor on migration and conflict. The report goes on to argue that this region is of particular importance to the United States and the international community given the potential for future instability, and that the time is now for developing better and more effective policies to address the security implications of climate change.
The Truman National Security Project released its national security policy briefing book. The Truman Project’s Security Briefing Book aims to outline 21st century solutions to America’s national security and foreign policy challenges. The book dedicates a chapter to each of the major security issues facing the nation, including a chapter on “Energy and Climate Security.” The chapter includes “essential background, key facts, policy options, and message guidance.” All in all, it is a great go-to resource for a broad overview of national security issues, and a good place to start for a better understanding of the national security implications of climate change and energy.
The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication released the results of a poll indicating that despite a marked decrease in climate change coverage in the media, a large majority of Americans are joining the ranks of the majority of the world’s scientists, connecting the dots between climate change and extreme weather events. This was aided in part by 82% of the respondents indicating that they experienced, first hand, one or more extreme weather events in the last year. Joe Romm at Climate Progress points out that these are similar findings to an earlier poll released by Brookings. While not obviously security-related, this is an important step towards improving and elevating the climate change discourse in the U.S. Let’s just hope that first hand experience with climate-exacerbated conflict is not also a requirement for understanding the security implications of climate change…