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The Himalayan Hotspot: Diplomacy Needed to Address Environmental and Climate Security Risks

By Maya Saidel

Heightened militarization in the Himalayan region has impeded diplomatic and multilateral efforts to tackle critical climate issues endangering one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. In early June, at least 20 soldiers perished in a historic clash between Indian and Chinese troops along the disputed Himalayan border in Ladakh. This confrontation is the most recent deadly episode in a long history of border disputes between the two countries. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) demarcation, intended to designate which country controlls specific territory, was established after the Sino-Indian War in 1962. Yet, according to The Indian Express, efforts to clarify the exact location of the LAC in the Ladakh region have “effectively stalled since 2002.”  

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The Future of Research on Climate Change and Armed Conflict

Pakistan flood relief

U.S. Marines unload food and supplies for Pakistani flood victims in support of the flood relief effort in Pano Aqil, Pakistan, Sept. 11, 2010. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jason Bushong

By Dr. Marc Kodack

As military planners look out to future operating environments that they may face, they need to continue to anticipate the changing social, environmental, political, and economic conditions that populations may experience when these populations are increasingly affected by climate change. Climate change will dynamically influence many societal variables including migrationfood security, and conflict. Planners may be particularly drawn to the causes of conflict. Mach et. al (2020) present four areas of future research that would assist planners with better understanding the relationship between climate change and armed conflict.

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Building a Resilient Tomorrow: Interview with Author Alice Hill

Flooding in downtown Memphis, TN; part of the 2011 Mississippi River floods (by Thegreenj)

By Maya Saidel

This interview is part of a series in which Council on Strategic Risks (CSR)  & Center for Climate and Security (CCS) interns interview members of the CSR and CCS Advisory Boards along with other key voices in the security field. Building a Resilient Tomorrow: How to Prepare for the Coming Climate Disruption, co-authored by Alice Hill and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, is a book that offers inspiring examples of environmental risk management and recommendations to strengthen climate resilience. Maya Saidel interviewed Alice Hill about her new book, her career, and the climate crisis. Alice Hill is a member of both the CSR Board of Directors and the CCS Advisory Board, and is the Senior Fellow for Climate Change Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. She previously served as a special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for resilience policy on the National Security Council staff. The responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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New Research Shows Importance of Military Personnel Communicating the Risks of Climate Change

Marines gather to listen to Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, speak aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Sept. 19, 2012.

By Dr. Marc Kodack

While senior military leaders, due to their apolitical reputation, can influence skeptical audiences about climate change risks to national security, enlisted personnel can be even more persuasive when they deliver personal messages, according to new research in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Communication. The experimental study examined how to construct a climate change communication strategy using a pro-climate framework, and focused around national security concerns delivered by enlisted military personnel to groups who are more prone to skepticism regarding the scientific consensus on climate change.The bottom line up front from the study is simple: active duty U.S. military personnel are increasingly concerned about climate change, and that evidence-based perspective is influential with conservatives.

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