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In January 2022, food prices were already higher than normal. Pandemic-driven supply chain and labor complications combined with intensifying climate hazards had negatively affected global food availability. Then Russia invaded Ukraine, which has drastically reduced grain exports from Europe’s breadbasket, compounding the situation. Among other devastating humanitarian consequences, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to higher global food prices, escalating shipping costs, decreased agricultural output, and limited fertilizer availability, increasing the number of people facing acute food insecurity from 276 million to 323 million.
Further exacerbating the crisis is a global trade system built to deliver products on an ‘as needed’ basis. Food is moved just as previous stock runs out, which means if one or two deliveries are interrupted, there is no buffer for countries without long-term food stockpiles. This global food crisis highlights the impact converging risks will have on brittle global systems, and should have the same effect as a yellow card in soccer—warning the global community that care should be taken to prevent further harm.(more…)
Stars and Stripes magazine’s Wyatt Olson recently published a very interesting and thorough article titled “PACOM not waiting for politics to plan for climate change challenges.” The article details the reasons U.S. Pacific Command is taking climate change seriously, and some of what it’s doing to combat the threat.
A great quote from the piece, which perfectly encapsulates the national security community’s risk management approach to climate change, comes from Brig. Gen. Mark McLeod. He stated:
Seventy percent of the bad storms that happen in the world are in the Pacific,” he said. “Call it climate change, call it the big blue rabbit, I don’t give a hoot what you call it — the military has to respond to those kinds of things.
Though we would not have chosen the headline, CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour cited the Center for Climate and Security last Friday in a piece called “Syria violence caused by…water supply?” Her commentary is a lot more measured, however, and she does a good job of laying out the connections between drought and displacement from 2006-2011. The short video segment did not allow for a description of the significant governance, water and land management deficiencies of the Assad regime that also contributed to a plummeting groundwater table (and decimation of 60% of Syria’s arable land), but it’s good to see this neglected facet of the issue receive mainstream attention. See our reports “The Arab Spring and Climate Change” and “Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest” for more.
A new peer-reviewed study published yesterday by Hsiang, Burke and Miguel in Science, concludes that there is a significant causal link between a warming climate (even minor temperature variability), more extreme rainfall, and the likelihood of different scales of conflict, ranging from domestic violence to intra and inter-state conflict. It is a meta-analysis of 60 previous peer-reviewed studies, and 45 data sets, published in a respectable scientific journal. (more…)