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How Jordan’s Climate and Water Crisis Threatens its Fragile Peace

Jordan_Drought3

A satellite image showing the Wadi Rum desert and irrigated farmland in Jordan. (Image credit: NASA)

By Peter Schwartzstein

For years, security service recruitment has masked climate instability in rural Jordan. Now that strategy is breaking down and no one knows what will take its place.

In the desert villages of south Jordan, the security services dominate. They run many of the schools. They maintain the roads, water infrastructure, and bridges. Crucially, they also employ most of the men.

Roughly 70% of those in full time employment in rural stretches of the southern governorates are in the army, civil defense, or intelligence corps, according to CCS research conducted in about 20 villages, a figure that rises to around 90% in some of the most distant, isolated communities. Most of the other residents are dependent on soldiers’ spending. Such is the security services’ outsized role that many districts have practically been emptied of young and middle-aged men. “It’s only when the soldiers are back home that this feels anything like a village,” said one farmer in the far southern Aqaba governorate. (more…)

Former Secretary of Defense Mattis: Don’t Get Caught “Flat-Footed” by Climate Change

SECDEF Mattis on Climate Change_2019_9_5

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis talks about the security risks of climate change – September 5, 2019

In a September 5th interview with Andrea Mitchell, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis spoke about the importance of addressing the security threat of climate change, much as he did while he was Secretary of Defense from 2017-2019. In particular, he addressed skeptical audiences, stating: “why wouldn’t we take out an insurance policy and do prudent steps to make certain the generation that’s coming up is not going to be caught flat-footed by this?” Here’s the clip:

 

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Event: Climate and National Security Forum 2019

Call for Applications for the 2019 Climate Security Fellowship Program

csag-logo-massiveThe Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG) is pleased to announce a call for applications for its 2019 Climate Security Fellowship Program, a collaborative effort of the American Security Project, the Center for Climate and Security and the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program. Applications are due by 5pm Eastern Standard Time on September 30, 2019.

In response to increasing demand for mentorship and increased interest in career pathways for climate and security practitioners, the Climate and Security Advisory Group has developed a community-wide Climate Security Fellowship Program. It is the first professional organization for emerging leaders seeking meaningful careers at the intersection of climate change and security. (more…)

Heat-related illness increasing among U.S. military personnel

US Military and Extreme Heat

An Army Ranger trainee completes a 12-mile march at Fort Benning, Georgia, while wearing heat sensors to measure core temperature and heart rate. (Brock Stoneham/NBC News)

By Marc Kodack

Heat-related illnesses (heat stroke and heat exhaustion) have increased among U.S. military personnel since 2008 according to a July 23, 2019, investigative news story jointly released by Inside Climate News, an independent news organization that focuses on climate, energy and the environment, and NBCNews.com. Increasing temperature driven by climate change has not only health, but security implications for U.S. military and local populations, and the issue is worth exploring further. (more…)

BRIEFER: Nuclear, climate, and security issues in Nigeria

CSR Briefer Three CoverBy Andrea Rezzonico and Christine Parthemore

 

As Africa’s largest economy with a monumentally large and young population, Nigeria is a critical country whose future is often seen as a key factor in regional stability. It is also experiencing a wide range of pressures, including terrorist threats, water stress, high energy demands, and one of the world’s highest rates of urbanization, among others. Like many countries, Nigeria’s story is that of a fragile nation—facing many challenges but holding strong potential—seeking nuclear energy to help meet its mounting energy needs.

 

The Council of Strategic Risks, the parent organization of the Center for Climate and Security, explores this landscape in its latest briefer, “Converging Risks in Nigeria: Nuclear Energy Plans, Climate Fragility, and Security Trends.” (more…)

Climate Change and Megacities: A Dialogue Session

Jakarta harbor

Jakarta harbor. The fastest sinking city in the world. (Source: Getty Images, from BBC).

By Dr. Michael Thomas

As the Center for Climate and Security’s Senior Fellow for the Indo-Pacific, I recently participated in a three-day conference hosted by the Hollings Center for International Dialogue that delved into the challenges and opportunities of the world’s megacities. Held in Jakarta, one of the largest megacities in the world, the conference brought together over 20 experts from around the globe to explore key thematic issues of sustainability, climate and energy resiliency, the food-water nexus, social and governance issues, as well as concepts of rejuvenation and heritage preservation. (more…)