Looking at the world today, we can see strong signals of what the future may bring: unprecedented climate risks and natural resource stress, continuing refugee crises, and responses from governments ranging from welcoming with open arms to watching as the most vulnerable perish. Long-simmering and emerging conflicts will not be solved overnight. Stresses on water and food, and the inability of governments to provide these basic resources for their citizens, are not going to go away. The growing and multi-faceted push and pull drivers of migration are not going away either. These challenges we can foresee. But with foresight comes a “responsibility to prepare,” and to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values.
The difference between today and tomorrow rests in what we as nations choose to do in the face of these challenges. Do we choose humanitarian responses that truly enhance our security or do we choose to artificially isolate ourselves?
For millennia and for many today, mobility is security. Governments will need to recognize that reality and start developing both preventive solutions and ameliorative responses that enhance human security, and, in so doing, bolster security worldwide.
This is a crosspost from Climate Diplomacy
On 19 January 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan hosted a roundtable seminar with international experts and country representatives to follow up on G7 efforts to address climate-fragility risks.
Climate change is a ‘threat multiplier’ that will increase state fragility, fuel social unrest and potentially unleash violent conflict. Japan, as part of the Group of 7 (G7), has recognized the resulting challenges for sustainable economic development, peace and stability. Following up on the independent report “A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks” commissioned by G7 members, the foreign ministers of the G7, in April 2016, reiterated their commitment to take preventive steps and integrate climate-fragility considerations into their planning. (more…)
Mark your calendars for Friday, January 27 from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST for the premiere of the documentary film The Age of Consequences in New York. The film explores the complex linkages between climate and conflict. Produced by Jared P. Scott and Sophie Robinson, the film includes interviews with the Center for Climate and Security’s Francesco Femia, and Advisory Board members Rear Admiral (ret) David Titley, Marcus King, and Sherri Goodman, as well as other experts in the field. If you are not in New York, chances are there will be a screening near you (or you can host your own). If you can’t make it, the second-best option might be to watch a panel discussion about the film below, featuring many of the film’s cast-members, from last year’s Climate and National Security Forum. (more…)
By Andrea Rezzonico, Research Consultant
A recent Belfer Center report by Daniel Poneman, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, former Deputy Secretary of Energy, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Centrus Energy Corp., tackles the relationship between nuclear and climate issues. The report asks an important question on the expansion of nuclear energy: “can we expand its environmental benefits without increasing the risks of nuclear terror?” (more…)
By Neil Bhatiya, Climate and Diplomacy Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security
Much of the work the policy community has done with regard to the role climate change may play in driving armed conflict rests on important social science research which seeks to explore how conflicts start, are sustained, and eventually end. A lot of work in this subfield has focused on well-known case studies such as Syrian drought and the ongoing civil war there. In a new study in last Fall’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Nina von Uexkull, Mihai Croicua, Hanne Fjeldea, and Halvard Buhaug add some essential new evidence to the debate over how climate change impacts, in this case increased drought, play into conflict dynamics. (more…)
As we look toward a new Administration in the United States, and the path forward on addressing the myriad threats in a rapidly-changing geostrategic landscape, it’s worth having a clearer understanding of how the U.S. national security community has come to its current level of concern about climate change. This concern didn’t happen overnight, or under a single administration. Rather, it’s the culmination of decades of assessments stretching back to the end of the Cold War. (more…)
As the current Administration winds down, each of the President’s Cabinet members have submitted “Exit Memos” detailing “the progress we’ve made, their vision for the country’s future, and the work that remains in order to achieve that vision.” They are all worth a read. Of particular note is Secretary of Defense Ashton “Ash” Carter’s memo, and how it contextualizes the risks and opportunities associated with a changing climate. Despite perceptions to the contrary, Secretary Carter joins a growing list of defense leaders, civilian and military, stretching back to the early years of the George W. Bush Administration, that have taken climate change seriously as both a matter of national security, and a driver of innovative action. (more…)