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Spring Thaw: What Role Did Climate Change and Natural Resource Scarcity Play in the Arab Spring?

City skyline from a coastal defense breakwater in Alexandria, EgyptIn a new post titled “Spring Thaw: What Role Did Climate Change and Natural Resource Scarcity Play in the Arab Spring?” the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Schuyler Null and Maria Preble have done an admirable job of reviewing both our report with the Stimson Center and the Center for American Progress, “The Arab Spring and Climate Change,” and E3G’s “Underpinning the MENA Democratic Transition.” From their summary:

According to the authors of The Arab Spring and Climate Change, a series of essays edited by Caitlin E. Werrell and Francesco Femia and jointly published by the Center for American Progress, Stimson Center, and Center for Climate and Security, while political uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere were a direct response to oppressive governments and social dissatisfaction, climate change may have acted as a “threat multiplier,” further exacerbating the underlying causes of revolution.

“Global warming may not have caused the Arab Spring, but it may have made it come earlier,” write Sarah Johnstone and Jeffrey Mazo of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in one essay.

Another report, Underpinning the MENA Democratic Transition, published by E3G, cautions that economic shocks driven by climate change and resource scarcity in the region could challenge fledgling democracies. “Failing to invest in preventive measures now will generate future risks that require additional government capacity to manage,” they write.

Click here for the full review.


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