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This Week in an Expanding China: Energy, Climate and Security

The spotlight has been on China this week, with the U.S. visit from China’s soon-to-be President raising familiar, perennial questions between the two countries, ranging from currency manipulation to human rights (including China’s veto of a recent UN Security Council resolution supporting an Arab League plan to remove Syria’s President from power). There has also been significant scholarly and journalistic attention paid to China’s impact on environmental, energy and climate security, in Asia and beyond. Of particular interest is the geographic expansion of China’s foreign policy interests, and the implications of that expansion.  Below is a brief summary of some of the more interesting articles that emerged over the past few days. (more…)

A Marshall Plan to Combat Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific: The Missing Piece of the New U.S. Security Strategy

This article is cross-posted from e-International Relations

For the first time since the days of William Howard Taft, the United States is officially reorienting its security and defense strategy to the Asia-Pacific region, closing down military bases in Europe, redeploying soldiers to bases in Australia, and placing the region front and center in its strategic documents. As stated in the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance note, “while the U.S. military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity re-balance toward the Asia-Pacific region.” But if this shift is to translate into leadership, the United States needs a complementary investment agenda for building the region’s resilience to key emerging threats – including climate change. (more…)

New Report: The United States, the South China Sea, Natural Resources and Climate Change

After a long transition, and winter break (a strange one, to be sure – the daffodils here in DC started to emerge yesterday, and today it’s snowing…), we’re back.

And what better post-break gift than a new report from the Center for a New American Security? “Cooperation from Strength: The United States, China and the South China Sea” is a good one. You should read the whole thing. But given our focus on climate and security, we’re going to briefly highlight the section on climate change in Will Rogers’ chapter “The Role of Natural Resources in the South China Sea.” (more…)

Military Advisory Board: Oil Dependency Achilles Heel of U.S. National Security

“Overreliance on oil in the transportation sector is the Achilles heel of our national security.”

A report released last week by the Center for Naval Analysis’ Military Advisory Board (or MAB), made up of some of the United States’ highest-ranking retired military leaders, called for “immediate, swift and aggressive action” over the next decade to reduce U.S. oil consumption 30% in the next ten years.  This is the latest in a series of reports by the MAB, beginning with the 2007 release of “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change.” The report, titled “Ensuring America’s Freedom of Movement: A National Security Imperative to Reduce U.S. Oil Dependence,” states emphatically that “America’s dependence on oil constitutes a significant threat– economically, geopolitically, environmentally, and militarily” and that “even a small interruption of the daily oil supply impacts our nation’s economic engine, but a sustained disruption would alter every aspect of our lives — from food costs and distribution to what or if we eat, to manufacturing goods and services to freedom of movement. (more…)

The Global Resiliency Market

There’s a new gold rush on, but it’s not about gold. It’s about land. More specifically, it’s about buying and selling land, food, water, and ultimately, resilience. A number of countries, short on arable land and water, are investing in a sort of global insurance policy. Countries like China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, with significant portions of their countries operating beyond their own water budgets, are busy making up the difference by buying up lands in water and soil-rich areas of Africa, South America and South Asia, growing crops on the acquired land and then shipping the crops (and the embedded or “virtual” water that went into growing them) back to their respective countries. The sellers, on the other hand, are giving up land, water and future resilience for, in some instances, pocket change (see Lester Brown). One might call this the “global resiliency market,” and as with any market, there are serious risks for all who participate.
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No Way Out: Climate Change and Immobility

This is a cross-post of our piece that appeared in the World Policy Blog today

by Caitlin Werrell, Francesco Femia, and Troy Sternberg

In the 1990s, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asserted that “climate migrants” would be one of the most dire consequences of climate change. This, at times contentious argument, centers on how climate change acts as a “threat multiplier,” exacerbating existing environmental and social factors that drive migration. (more…)